Mohali-based Jupiter Aqua Lines (JAL), manufacturer of complete bathroom solutions, has recently ventured into the sanitaryware space. The company has introduced a range of wash basins, water closets and suites in two colours – ivory and white. “With our entry into the new segment, we are very much heading towards becoming a complete bathroom solutions provider. Very soon we will be coming up with high-end designer products too,” informed Vivek Kapoor, managing director of the company.
Following entry into the new segment, JAL is now aiming to expand its dealer-distributor network across the country. At present the company has about 1,200 dealers and 15 distributors. “We want to increase our dealer base by around 20% this year, and will focus more on the smaller cities,” shared Kapoor in an exclusive telephonic interaction with Sourcing Hardware.Kapoor asserted that the company selects potential dealers based on their business experience, financial stability and goodwill in the market. “We are looking for dealers who are young and dynamic,” he said. Apart from this, Kapoor added that to increase the brand’s market presence, the company is also considering the shop-in-shop arrangement, wherein a multi-brand dealer provides exclusive space to display JAL products.
“Of the 1,200 dealers that we have today, the plan is to convert 500 of them to be our dealers for sanitaryware,” Kapoor informed. This is besides the plan to set up exclusive outlets. “We want to have 50 exclusive JAL Shoppes,” he said. The company has very recently opened a JAL Shoppe at Jaigaon (West Bengal); it also has four such exclusive outlets in Punjab and five in Himachal Pradesh. “Going forward we want to increase the count in southern and western states of India, especially in Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra.”
JAL Shoppe will be offered to dealers who have had a long association with the company. The space needed for the exclusive outlet is 500sft to 1,200sft, depending on market and location. The investment for a JAL Shoppe ranges from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per sft, and the display products are provided at discounted rates. Talking about retail margins in sanitaryware, Kapoor said that while the prevailing range is 4-12%, reputed brands offer 7-8% margin depending on their respective strengths.
The company, said Kapoor, believes in providing necessary training to its associates. “When it comes to our products, installation is the key. Even the best of products from the best of brands can go awry if they are not properly installed,” he said, adding that JAL perhaps is among the few companies that provide fitting and maintenance instructions kit along with the product. “We are focused on training; besides organising plumber meets, training our associates on new products, trouble shooting, etc is an ongoing process at JAL.”
Talking about the new tax regime, Kapoor said that GST would benefit the organised sector immensely. “I feel that the unorganised players will either have to come into the ambit of the law or shut their shops. This will bring down the price difference significantly and the net impact will be that customers will opt for branded, quality products.”
“I am hopeful that once the dust settles, the turnover of the organised players will double,” he said, adding that seeing the future potential the company has already increased its production capacity by one and a half times. “Besides the domestic market, JAL has a presence in the Sri Lankan market; we have a distributor there. At the same time we are eyeing the African and Middle East markets,” he informed.