Global IT giant Hewlett-Packard has unveiled its retail strategy for South India. The company is planning to expand its retail presence to 250 exclusive outlets in the next six months. The company, which recently launched its first premium ‘Experience Store’ in Chennai., expects to set up 50 such stores across the country in the same period, up from the present 15.
It would also look at major non-metros across India in a phased manner, and is anticipating a surge in demand from these cities.
Speaking at the launch of the first ‘Experience Store’ at Chennai, Varadarajan Krishnan, GM – Consumer Sales, Imaging and Printing Group, Hewlett-Packard India Sales Pvt Ltd, said, “The best way to convince the customer is to let them walk in and experience the product. They need to be 100 per cent sure that this is what they want to buy. In a market like Chennai, customers come with a higher degree of education and they evaluate their options a lot more before making a choice.”
Hewlett-Packard considers Tamil Nadu to be “significant in the overall expansion plans of HP’. The tech-savvy from the BPO, manufacturing, SME and software segments form the core of this strategy. The stores will also cater to children and home segments as well as offer fine-tuned applications for the SMB segment.
Krishnan added that such a store with personalised attention to customers had a higher conversion rate than MBOs and other stores, while facilitating feedback from customers firsthand. Of the 50 premium stores that the company plans to set up in India, 17 would be in South India. HP will look at non-metros like Cochin, Coimbatore and Madurai, where according to the company, the adoption of Notebooks and PCs was faster.
Through the ‘Experience Stores’, HP aims to showcase its complete range of solutions and applications. With the growing demand for notebooks, a company spokesperson said that customers wanted to get a ‘touch and feel’ of the same before they made a purchase. This was cited as the reason for the segment forming an integral part of HP’s retail strategy for the South.
The genre of premium stores playing a crucial role in IT retailing was explained by Krishnan as, “Currently, there is lack of clarity among customers on where they stand in the purchase cycle and what they need. Until customers reach a point where they know exactly what they need, such personalised stores will help in expanding the market further.”
The ‘Experience Store’ would have a ‘Digital Photography Zone’ showcasing click-edit-print solutions, a ‘Digital Entertainment Zone’ featuring the HP Pavilion, and ‘Mobility Zone’ demonstrating wireless connectivity. The laser printers, inkjet printers and the all-in-ones are displayed in the ‘Category Units’ section.