Leading laminate flooring provider Pergo is all set to expand its existing network of over 200 channel partners. “This year we plan to add 40–50 more channel partners across India,” shared Naresh Maheshwari, CEO, Pergo India Pvt Ltd, in an exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware. “From a retail perspective, we are increasing our distribution network by targeting tier II cities, where there is potential but where we have been unable to leverage the potential. Along with this, we would like to focus on the tier I cities, targeting new distribution networks and work with new associates in the market.”
“While we do have a presence in tier II cities, we will further increase our network of channel partners as potentials of these cities are increasing,” said Maheshwari. He added that the company would like to work with new associates in the market who understand the technicalities of the product, and are able to convince as well as educate and guide the customers in selecting a product. “The channel partner will have to maintain product exclusivity,” he added.
The company also has approx. 30 exclusive display centres, of which majority are run by its channel partners; it is looking forward to adding a few more. “A number of exclusive display centres are run by our dealers/distributors. Given the competition and the investment, keeping only one product is not a viable option. While the centre is exclusive for laminates, we will allow them to showcase complementary products [wall papers, etc], but not competitive products.” Majority of the space will be devoted to Pergo, he added. “People are interested in this idea. Seeing the practicality, we suggested the idea as it helps increase footfall and cover costs.”
The investment required to become a channel partner would depend on the location. The space cost is borne by the channel partner and the company covers 50% of the display and product sample costs. The space required for a design centre is 400-500sft and that for a dealer store is 200sft. “We see to it that there is uniformity as far as branding is concerned.” As for training, Maheshwari added that the company provides product/technical/installation training to its partners. “If there is no adequate installation training, even a good product fails to make a mark,” he said.
“Marketing activities depends on the economic scenario, market demands and accordingly we develop our plan,” shared Maheshwari, adding that Pergo is currently focusing on digital marketing. As for branding activities in the print medium, he said, “Depending on need, we do advertise in magazines/newspapers.” The company also participates in a few exhibitions. “Exhibitions are best suited to launch, showcase and demonstrate the technicalities of the new products.”
So as to introduce new ranges of products in the market, the company does focus on research insights pertaining to the taste of the consumer in terms of colour, gloss finish, etc. “Based on the insights, we choose a range to cater to our customers’ preferences and requirements.”
Going forward, Maheshwari feels that the company will need to build up volumes and introduce new products. Given that the products are imported from Belgium and Malaysia, he believes that setting up a manufacturing plant in India would largely depend on volumes and market dynamics.