Retailing in India seems to be touching every aspect of our lives whether its Food, lifestyle, entertainment, health and now the darlings of grey market i.e. technology products. Agrani Switch, India’s first technology superstore chain is now available in nine locations across the country – Delhi, Noida, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kanpur, Ludhiana.
The stores offers the largest assortment of products & services related to the ‘TIME’ arena: Telecom, Information Technology and Learning, Media and Entertainment. The company plans to establish 2500 retail stores by the year 2006.The core brand value of SWITCH is to enhance the consumers experience by educating him or her with regards to the benefits that technology can provide.
The store is targeting the SEC A&B 15+ and has in the past utilized a direct mailer campaign to introduce SWITCH, as well as encourage visits to the store. According to Mr. Sudesh R Jog, V.P- Marketing, Agrani Convergence Ltd., “Our brand today strives to make the benefits of the right technology and therefore the importance of the choice of the right technology product is very transparent and makes it possible for the customer to avail this benefit over a large period of time through right product selection and superior service. The “Switch” brand to that extent is not just a retail brand, it holds hands of the customers for them to get to know the technology product and acts as a bridge between the consumer and technology.” He further adds “ SWITCH strives to deliver a quality experience that consumer requires at an extremely unique value.”
A tech savvy consumer can also buy products from the Switch eStore, a virtual store that looks at the positive support of providing international quality merchandise and ambience at no incremental cost. In addition to this, ACL also has a B2B print catalog Switch Direct. Targeted at corporate customers and purchase managers, Switch Direct is a one-stop retail shop on the desktop. Through the retail chain, both the print catalog as well as the eStore , will have the strong physical network required for distribution, thereby presenting a multi-faceted retail face to the consumer.
In addition to the retail face, Agrani Convergence Ltd., also has an after sales brand Switch Technoaid. Technoaid looks after the after sales installation and maintenance of the various technology products. In addition to being available to all the Switch customers, Technoaid is a business unit in itself, generating AMC contracts as well as addressing independent repair / maintenance requirements.
The break-even period for an average store is about 18 months. In order to grow aggressively, SWITCH is rolling out its franchisee program targeting top 23 cities across the country in the first phase. Mr. Jog expects the sales of all SWITCH stores and through all distribution channels in this financial year (March 2002) to be approx.15 crores.
In terms of advertising SWITCH has been using both mass media as well as below the line tools. So far so their advertising plans have been such that they lead off with a store launch advertisement in one of the leading publications of the city where a store is being launched. This is followed by a series of below the line activities; typically an in store event to enhance the shopping experience of their customers, as well as to increase the fun and excitement, to drive traffic, also bus kiosks and neon signage and the translates have been utilized.
They are now exploring utilizing electronic media. EURO-RSCG and WCJ are the two agencies working with SWITCH. A new TV promo will be aired soon.