Bajoria Appliances chief Namit Bajoria talks about the Kutchina proposition, the company’s retail expansion plan, selection criterion, e-commerce and more; in an exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware.
“We are probably among the very few companies that offer complete kitchen solutions under one roof. The Kutchina brand is quite well known for its modular kitchens, large appliances, small appliances and water purifiers. We are quite optimistic about our growth this year. Therefore we are readying to strengthen our current markets and enter new territories by signing up business partners,” says Bajoria.
At present we have over 160 distributors across India for our main line of kitchen appliances. As for small appliances, there are over 70 distributors in the east and central India; we are strengthening ourselves in these regions and the next move is to spread out. For water purifiers we have 20 distributors across east and we are gradually expanding. We have 25 distributors for modular kitchens; as we seek to expand our presence we feel that Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan and Bengaluru are the future growth markets for the company.
In 2018 our focus market will be west – by virtue of the potential for the products we sell; east – by virtue of our distribution strength, and then south – we see this region as a huge potential market for the product category that we offer. As for north India, we would be sustaining our presence with focus on Punjab and Rajasthan. Our aim will also be to establish retail networks for small appliances in east and central India, and gain a strong foothold in West Bengal and North-East for our water purifier range.
We can increase retail presence only by expanding our dealer and distributor base. Visibility and experience-wise we are planning to open 100 exclusive brand outlets (EBOs), and another 80 to 100 display centres across India to let customers experience our complete range.
Zeroing in on a format depends on a few critical aspects:
- n Market trend– It is important to closely observe and be in sync with the market trends. For instance at present the retail format is most preferred as it increases visibility, draws attention, and thus sales.
- The potential of city- What is the potential of the city in terms of purchasing power? Can products in a specific price bracket sell there, and does it make business sense to expand there through EBO, MBO, display centre, etc?
- Investment and return period– This is ofcourse important and varies city to city depending on the gains we may have in terms of not only sales, but visibility, customer base and branding.
- Location- Are we getting the store at the right location, where people frequently visit for such products or are we trying to create a new hub which, naturally, is more difficult?
The market entry strategy in either of the case remains the same and is dependent on potential of the market, extent of penetration by competing brands, price range prevalent in the market, etc.
Once we have zeroed in on a particular format, the next is choosing a channel partner. The selection criteria are:
- If the potential channel partner has been in this trade, i.e.iekitchen related business from before
- Sales and reputation
- Space, visibility/display that he is ready to give
- Interest level in promoting our products,as against what support we can give
- Financial viability
- The market in question
If the potential channel partner qualifies suitably, then we are more than happy to have him on board. Further, depending upon investment potential and the space available, we decide whether it will be an EBO, MBO, display centre or simple dealer.
Engaging Channel Partners
We believe in forging long-term business partnerships based on mutual trust and respect. The company makes it a point that there is regular interaction between dealers and the company’s marketing and sales support team. Besides these we have a number of loyalty programmes, viz dealers’meet, organising foreign/domestic trips for outperforming channel partners, incentive schemes based on quarterly/annual achievements, regular market driven activities involving our partners, etc. Following these initiatives we have been able to build very good brand loyalty amongst our dealers.
Associating with brand Kutchina as channel partner is a great business opportunity. Look at the home interior segment, besides the bathroom space it is the kitchen space that calls for maximum time and investment. Realising this many brands, both domestic and global, are making their presence felt. As far as Kutchina is concerned, our product life is the longest and our technology and structure of our product is much sturdier than that of peers, and this reduces consumer complaints. The spend on brand promotion in terms of corporate ads, television and print ads, participation in trade exhibitions, digital campaign, activation, etc, is relatively on the higher side. And lastly, we offer very good margins to work on and price equality across markets, thus keeping markets stable.
We do not encourage dealers selling our regular models online, as it leads to uncontrolled discounting and cross supplies across the country which is bad for market discipline and rate stability. We have our own range of products carrying the same logo and quality standards, which we sell online as a company. This helps maintain a differential with regular trade. While e-commerce is desirable, it is the company that should be the direct participant.