Team IT Voice had some special and exclusive bytes form Mr. Rajesh Doshi, Founder and Director-Marketing, Top Notch Infotronix Pvt. Ltd. (Zebronics)
IT VOICE : How would you summarize the channel market in 2013?
Mr. Rajesh Doshi : This year, the channel market faced many challenges and remained unstable for a variety of reasons. By far the major cause was the fluctuation in the value of Indian Rupee against foreign currencies and its eventual devaluation to the extent of about 20%. Consumers were hit by higher prices and resellers forced to reduce margins to retain volume and market. As we approach the close of the year, I would say the situation has still not stabilized.
Apart from this issue, the paradigm shift in the market for computing devices and accessories (with consumers increasingly opting for mobility and handheld devices) as well as the increased reach of ICT into next tier towns also made the channel community look at innovating to reach out to a wider consumer market.
IT VOICE : What have been the landmark moments for your company in 2013?
Mr. Rajesh Doshi : At Zebronics, we deeply believe in our motto ‘Always Ahead’. As a result we constantly strive to be innovation and offer products that hold appeal for the consumers – either through design aesthetics, better features and performance, all at value-based price, which has been our hallmark.
This year, we have done a lot of work especially in speakers, tablets, headphones, tablet accessories, and Bluetooth wireless devices. These are new end consumer products, which are showing a lot of potential and growth. While our traditional business segment of peripherals has given us a strong foundation; these new product categories helped take Zebronics to the next level.
We have also reached a landmark figure in reach and inaugurated our 100th service center recently, a unique achievement for a value brand.
Apart from products, this year we also gained recognition from various quarters for being a valued and trusted brand. The ‘Best Indian Peripherals Brand’ from SME Channel Awards, the ‘Fastest Growing Brand in Computer Peripherals and Accessories’ and ‘Favorite Cabinet Brand by South India Channel” awarded by CellIT awards, Digital Terminal magazine’s award for our Cabinet and Speaker range and NCN Awards early this year for the Speakers and UPS stand out.
Moving beyond business this year, we initiated several new CSR programs. Under our programs – Zeb-tech, Zeb-learn, Zeb-environment and Zeb-health, we reached out to schoolchildren and other communities with activities that included school quizzes, orphanage visits, cleaning beaches, medical camps etc.
IT VOICE : As 2013 draws to an end, how do you look forward to the market in 2014?
Mr. Rajesh Doshi : The Zebronics brand is known for offering a great value-to-price proposition on its products, our entire strategy revolves around this factor. We try to give consumers the maximum possible features and quality at best possible price. This gives us an edge in the market. Another strong point for us is our wide reach – we now have 30 branches and 100+ service centers across India. This is a great asset. We are expanding in to the next-tier towns, making Zebronics products available everywhere. Actually consumers in the B-and-C category locations pose a bigger challenge than those in the more mature markets. They have much higher expectations in term of price and quality. In simple words they need great value for money products, where Zebronics stands unbeatable.
I am confident that 2014 will continue to be a growth period for us as the market stabilizes and we put the uncertainties of 2013 behind us. The next tier locations, I believe, will play a significant role in our business.
IT VOICE : Please share exciting array of projects and products lined up for 2014.
Mr. Rajesh Doshi : Coming to 2014, our primary focus is going to be on new models in our multimedia speakers and players. Our ‘Sound Monster’ range of speakers has been very popular among the channel and consumers. This line-up is going to see many enhancements. There will be models with more connectivity options like Bluetooth, additions are planned to the Tower, 2.1 and 5.1 categories. Our ‘Little Monster’ range which has mobile and portable speakers will also see many new models added. We will be able to share more details about new products for 2014 once we close our fiscal year i.e. after March 2014.
IT VOICE : What is your message to channel partners?
Mr. Rajesh Doshi : The Channel community is very important for any brand to survive. The channels remain our visible interface to the end-consumers and play the major role for the brand’s acceptance and preference in the market. Combined with our strength in value-based product development at the back, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of our Channel partners as our front-end.
This year gone by, we introduced a uniform all-India scheme Zeb-blast for channel partners. Even with Zebronics’ value-for-money prices we made sure to keep the margins such that the efforts of the channel partners are well rewarded.
We have a very big base of loyal channel partners, some of whom have been with us right from the beginning. I wish to assure the Partners that we will bring them the right channel strategies based on market realities from time to time, and ensure channels’ satisfaction and trust in Zebronics. With increased focus on products like speakers, we will be looking to further expand the partner network beyond traditional IT segments to electronics market. We have already covered a lot of exploratory ground in this direction last one year.