The modular kitchen business has transformed retailing like none other; in fact no other building product has evoked so much passion, both within the customer and the seller, as this piece of furniture. But the business has become highly complex, and the seller’s success depends hugely on the integrity of his supplier.
Sameer Patel, promoter of Gujarat-based Evershine Olive Group, has been quick to realise the potential of an organised sales network in this custom-driven industry. Within two years he has built a network of 46 Arancia Kuchen showrooms across India. In fact three franchises are slated to come up in Trichy (Tamil Nadu), and in Kochi and Trichur in the state of Kerala by September. And he has set a target of 75 franchises by 2018.
Patel shared with Sourcing Hardware his perspective of retailing, and the road ahead for the kitchen business…
Trends in Retailing
Showrooms which cater to and supply branded kitchens will survive in the long run; while the ones which offer multi brand products and which are dealing in kitchen components will be thrown out of the market. This will happen because they are unable to provide warranty and after sale service as required by the customers. At Arancia Kuchen, we provide five-year warranty for our complete kitchens.
I would like to explain this by citing the example of the computer industry. Around 15 years ago buying an assembled computer was the norm for customers, but today you will not find a single supplier of assembled computers. The simple reason for their disappearance from the market is their limitation in providing warranty and after sale service. The same principle will apply to the modular kitchen industry.
Nowadays customers do not buy products, they buy an experience. This is true for all products, including modular kitchens. We have designed all our showrooms with this understanding, and we have also trained our franchisees and their teams to think on these lines. This differentiates Arancia Kuchen from our competitors.
Retail Distribution Model
At Arancia Kuchen we have an all-inclusive distribution network. Our products are not available with other dealers of building materials. This kind of distribution channel creates unwanted competition and damages the reputation of the company as well as the franchisee. Above all, the customer is also not going to get the product for which he is paying. If the product is not properly displayed, then it will not impress the prospective customer. In addition, the retailer has to invest a good amount of time with his customer, till the time the inquiry is converted into an order. After getting the order, the responsibility increases manifold.
I believe that in selling and in distribution, the role of middlemen will decrease day by day. In the future, retailing will be characterised by franchisees and company-owned showroom.
Supporting Business Partners
A franchise is a parent–child like relationship between the franchisor (company) and franchisee. Our franchisees have huge expectations from us, and we support them by:
- Designing their kitchen displays keeping their opinion in mind.
- Providing in-store branding and main board branding; we ensure that the name of our franchisee is prominently mentioned in the main glow signboard of the showroom; we do not dilute it.
- Providing attractive discounts.
- Providing financial support for advertisements.
- Supplying samples, shade cards, catalogues, leaflets, newspaper inserts and visiting cards to franchisees in bulk as per their requirement. Apart from it, we participate in national level exhibitions at Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru every year.
- Training the entire team on how to bring in more business and how to meet customer expectations.
- Offering the Arancia software for designing modular kitchens. This software is very user-friendly, and the operator can easily design kitchens of size 10x8ft in 30 minutes. The 3D rendering can also be done within 10 minutes.
- Providing them area exclusivity, as well as exclusive products for modular kitchens.
Most importantly, we launch exclusive products for our franchisees at regular interval of three months. This differentiates our franchise from that of our competitors, who often seem to have a ‘me too’ kind of product.
Skilling Business Partners
The Arancia Kuchen franchise works on the premise that there are three distinct stages while supplying a modular kitchen: 1) designing of the kitchen; 2) manufacturing the kitchen as per the customer’s design; and 3) installation at the customer’s site.
The designing and installation is taken care of by our franchisees and manufacturing is taken care of by the company. We train our franchisee teams about the basics of our products, their features, the differentiators, and benefits of the entire product range. Special focus is laid on recognising customer needs and then providing a solution, converting an inquiry into order, designing the kitchen using Arancia software, and installing the kitchen at the site within optimum time and with optimum resources.
We are driven by the understanding that the decision to buy a kitchen is taken by the entire family. The family visits the showroom around 4-5 times, and discusses with the designer for 3-4 hours on each visit before finalising the order. This process takes 2-3 months. We take pains to pass on this understanding of the buying process to our designer and the sales persons, teaching them to be very patient and understanding of the client’s taste and preferences. As every customer is unique, so is his requirement.
I am sure that the industry will shift from the unorganised to the organised sector within the next five years, mainly because of the inability of unorganised suppliers to provide proper finish, meet deadlines and live up to customers’ expectations. There is immense scope to all branded modular kitchen suppliers who offer innovative as well as quality products with proper after sale service