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Bluei is a consumer durables brand from India, established in the year 2009 under the leadership of Mr Rajesh Chopra. Recently Team IT-Voice had an opportunity to interact with Akhilesh Chopra, Director of Sales & Technology for Bluei. He answered questions related to the organization and the booming gadgets segment in India. Here is an excerpt from the interaction:
Prateek: Has the pandemic paved the way for increased demand for Indian products in India?
Akhilesh Chopra: The pandemic has extremely impacted the mobile accessories market in India. We have seen multiple smartphone brands and companies shutting down due to the lockdown imposed by the government. After lockdown, we saw positive responses from customers Bluei receiving online orders from different states and areas. The Indian market is growing and became a new place for mobile accessories as one does not need a high level of technology to manufacture accessories. This situation brings new hope for the Indian market and in the near future, India will become one major hub for the mobile accessories market. However, the market situation is coming back on track. Brands are launching new products in the market and consumers are keeping a close eye on smart accessories. The number of footfall in-store is increasing on weekends.
Prateek: Indian market is diverse and challenging. What will be your strategies for penetrating the market against the MNCs?
Akhilesh Chopra: A good positioning strategy wants a careful assessment of market research. Our strategy is to evaluate the total market size and opportunity. Market data help us outline the total number of potential customers in the market as well as the total potential sales in the market. As we are a homegrown brand, so we have an advantage and have a sense of consumer tastes. On the other hand, we have built a strong distribution channel pan India, R & D team, best quality products, and after-sales service support for customers. With the strong distribution network, we can sell the products to customers and also provide them with the right post-sales support. Also, we are getting the idea of customer demand through distributors. When anything goes wrong in manufacturing, we ensure a good after-sales service, with our network of centres. We are also working on how Bluei offers a better after-sales service. We are getting wonderful ideas and feedback from the distributors and customers in this regard.
Prateek: How are your products gaining traction in the market? Which product or segment is most in demand?
Akhilesh Chopra: We are designing the product according to the customer’s taste and preference. The main traction comes from our product design & quality and after-sale service policy. Our motive is to gain and build a strong relationship with customers. We are very confident about the demand come from customers as a company has our own manufacturing unit and trained workers. Also, Bluei using new technology in their products and try to give the best price. As per our company’s research, audio products are becoming a dominant segment in last year.
Prateek: What kind of challenges do you face in this venture of Made in India products?
Akhilesh Chopra: Most of the western countries, as well as eastern, expect their labour to be skilled before enrolling in the Industry. This boosts the productivity of the industry. The major problem industry facing here is unskilled labour. Unlike IT, SMEs do not have the resources to put their employees through rigorous training. Another major problem of unskilled labour is consistency and incapable to problem-solving ability. When the labourers seek to manager’s solution it lays back the manufacturing process every single time which in the overall estimate would slower the productivity and since the labour is not skilled she/he is highly likely to switch jobs leaving the industry without resources.
Another major issue faced by the industry is the steep rise in Raw Material prices which are as high as to the tune of 50 to 60% in the last three months. This issue has brought many industries to the brink of closure. Government should give relaxation on this.
Prateek: What policies can the Indian government adopt to support Make in India products in the IT sector?
Akhilesh Chopra: Our suggestion to govt. on the following points:
a) Skilled Employee: We as an industry require graduates with specific skill sets. When the economy is booming with opportunities and new career goals, skills specific to the job profile are imperative to sustain in this competitive world. The government must invest more and more in developing truly skilled graduates – not just degree holders. As an organisation, we try to create an enabling environment where employees are encouraged to upgrade and expand their skills throughout their lives.
b) Create Knowledge Clusters: For the innovation capabilities to evolve, India needs a convergence of capital, talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and knowledge. With what Silicon Valley could achieve from this model in just twenty years, why can’t India start thinking on these lines too? India would do well to inspire its youth to be leaders of tomorrow.
c) Easy in the loan application for business: There are few hurdles in the current process for a loan application for small businesses that can easily be addressed by the government. There are many documents that are requested while applying for a loan to prove the credibility of the lender. Most MSME loans are provided without any security, which makes such loans insecure and uneven for banks. While it is beneficial for the lenders as they do not have to bear any losses, it increases the chance of bad money for the banks. Since security is not required, it leads to confirmation of the credit score of the candidate by the banks and other lenders. In case an individual doesn’t have a good credit score, they cannot apply for the loans at all. Even if the loan is authorized, the whole amount is not always given and generally, only 50-60% is sanctioned.
Prateek: What will be your plans for expansion in near future?
Akhilesh Chopra: As we all know, India is one of the biggest markets in the world, and a brand like us has a huge opportunity to serve smart products to our customers. India is a country of young people using smartphones and the internet, and we have pledged to make appropriate investments in people, marketing, and all other efforts needed to grow our business.
Prateek: Are there any futuristic products ready for launch in near future?
Akhilesh Chopra: We are planning to launch Echo series speakers in October month with the unique features and the stylish look of every Echo speaker. Last year, Bluei receive a good response from the market and we are expecting a better response from last year.
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