Godrej Appliances, a part of the Mumbai-based Indian conglomerate Godrej Group, is among the most trusted home appliances brands in India. Established in 1958, the company has a product portfolio comprising of refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens and air conditioners which will be expanded to compact refrigerators, deep freezers and air purifiers within the next few months. The fourth largest Indian home appliances brand has been doing business in Nepal for over three decades. In 2012, the company appointed CG EOL, a subsidiary of Chaudhary Group, as the authorised distributor of its products in Nepal and has been steadily trying to inch its way to the top of the market. Prasoon Kumar, Vice President- Sales of Godrej Appliances was recently in Kathmandu for a dealers’ meet and product launch. In an interview with New Business Age, he talked about Godrej’s new and upcoming products, market prospects and strategies. Excerpts:
How important is the Nepali market for your company?
Nepal in the last few years has become a very promising market. The behaviour of customers here is similar to India. So we are now increasing our penetration in Nepal. We have received an excellent initial response and that is encouraging us to further invest in this market. So we will be investing here in terms of marketing, introducing new products and technologies the likes of which the Nepali market has not seen yet. We will be introducing products here the same time we launch them in India.
What products will Godrej launch here?
We will be introducing deep freezers. We have introduced a refrigerator without a compressor that can run on AC as well as on DC power. This is suitable for markets like Nepal where power shortage is very high. Apart from these products, we will be launching cutting-edge front loading washing machines.
As you may know, Godrej is a large consumer electronics company and our Godrej Appliances has four categories at present. With the addition of three new segments we will have seven categories altogether. With the introduction of ChotuKool the compact refrigerator will be the fifth segment while the deep freezer and air purifier will be the sixth and seventh segments respectively. I have seen so many people wearing masks in Nepal. So there is a lot of potential for air purifiers. We plan to launch the deep freezer and the air purifier within the next six months here.
What are the USPs of Godrej Appliances?
We use some of the most innovative technologies in our products and they are also reasonably priced. Our appliances are efficient in terms of energy saving. We have already manufactured refrigerators with Powercool technology that retains the coolness of refrigerators for up to 24 hours even without any electricity. In the washing machine category, we have some of the most efficient front loading and top loading washing machines that use innovative technologies to deliver top-class performance.
How is the partnership between Godrej and CG EOL progressing?
Godrej is enjoying this relationship as we are growing together. CG EOL has given us a strong network which no other partner can offer us here. We will strongly maintain our partnership in the years to come. The acceptance of Godrej products is very good. We are growing by almost 80 percent here.
How is the market in India?
Currently, we are the fourth largest home appliances brand in the India. In the next two years our target is to claim the third spot. In the context of Nepal, we are the third largest refrigerator brand. We are devising strategies on how to become the number one player here. It will take us at least three years to overtake LG and Samsung.
Don’t you think that your product portfolio is comparatively too small for you to compete with other brands in Nepal?
We are in an expansion mode here. All we need to do is to increase our portfolio in Nepal. That is why I came here to understand Nepali consumers and their likings. At present, the portfolio that we are selling in Nepal is not even 10 percent of what we sell in India. We are working out strategies and aim to expand our network by at least 50 percent in the next six months.
What branding and promotion strategies are you employing here?
We will be adding local flavour to our marketing and promotion strategies. For instance, we are going to announce a scheme for the Dussehra (Dashain) festival which is the major market season in Nepal. We are also looking to extend warranties on certain categories here.