Success in the kitchen business rests on the pillars of customer experience and channel partner experience, says Samir Patel, co-founder of Gurajat-based Arancia Kuchen. In this rare conversation with the media, he talks about the trends in modular kitchen business and what it takes to be a successful brand.
Arancia Kuchen is probably the most successful kitchen brand in the country, having built top-of-the-mind recall and a network of over 60 franchise outlets within a span of eight years. Five of these outlets are in Nepal. The company manufactures all the cabinetry inhouse, and offers its own hardware and accessories under the Crystal and Evershine brands.
Patel talks at length about the nature of the kitchen business in India, the motivations that drive customer behaviour, and what keeps channel partners loyal to the brand. His observations are insightful, as they come from building a business that, he says, “keeps customer experience at the centre of all decision making.”
For instance, Patel says it is possible to get the customers to stretch their budgets by as much as 25 per cent if the brand offers a comprehensive basket of solutions, materials, and finishes. “In the kitchen business the customers are not price sensitive.”
Customers need to be confident that the kitchen seller has the wherewithal to manufacture the right quality and supply it within the committed time. “This can happen only when they get to see how the kitchen is being made, and what is the calibre of the infrastructure that is being deployed by the seller.”
Product innovation is another important part of this fast-paced business, he says. “We must be ahead in offering innovations, be they in materials and finishes or designs. I believe that organised kitchen sellers are in competition with the mica sellers down the road.”
Retail design plays a key role in the success of any brand, and kitchen brands are no different. “While designing our showrooms, we should be mindful that customers have access to ideas from multiple sources including their designers, friends, and family members. Our showrooms should be capable enough to assure them that we are in the business to design a kitchen for them, and not their ‘others’.”
Arancia Kuchen won the Kitchen Retailer Award Multiple Outlets – Small at India Kitchen Congress this April. Patel says that the recognition was an outcome of the company’s focus on customer experience and excellence in retail.
“Channel partner experience is an equally important aspect of this business. We are as much focused on their satisfaction as we are on the customers. That’s probably the reason why not a single franchisee has terminated their partnership with us for business reasons. In fact, we are beginning to see franchisees open their second and third Arancia Kuchen outlets within the city. This is a matter of great pride for us.”
But Patel is not sitting on his laurels; he is looking out for the international competition that is likely to emerge in India soon. “Not just someone, many more will come. And that will be good for the customer as well as for the industry,” he quips.