Belkin takes up Channel route for growth in India

By VARINDIA - 2010-02-18

Belkin takes up Channel route for growth in India

Belkin announced a significant revamp of its channel infrastructure in India. Seven regional distributors have been selected to join the Belkin channel team. These distributors will now focus exclusively on distributing Belkin’s range of products in their geographies.

The New regional distributors are Cyberstar Infocom Ltd. (Northern region); Advance Management Systems Ltd.(Eastern region); Creative Peripherals & Distribution India Pvt. Ltd. (Western region); SV Electronics Ltd. (Andhra Pradesh); Sri Durga Computech India Pvt. Ltd. (Tamil Nadu and Karnataka); Noveon Systems (Kerala) and Logtech Infoway Pvt. Ltd. (Kerala).

Moreover, Cyberstar Infocom, in addition to handling North India, will also be the national level distributor in charge of organized retail chains and large format retailers like Croma, Staples, Excite, Tzone etc.

“We are bullish that this hub and spoke model will deliver significant scale, flexibility and speed in our channel operations,” said Mohit Anand, Country Manager, India, Belkin Inc. “The hybrid channel model, while staying focused on enhancing the easy availability of product lines across target markets, seeks to guarantee higher profits to our committed channel partners,” he added.

Designed to extend the utility and experience of digital lifestyle assets and to facilitate dynamic connectivity and content distribution across TV, mobile and computer screens, the latest Belkin offerings seek to fulfill the promise of seamless ‘Technotainment, at work, at home, in-car and on-the-go.

While seeking to build strong brand visibility through aggressive promotion of its state-of-the-art signature products like TuneBase FM, Rockstar and Cooling Star, Belkin will focus its channel operations on moving higher volumes for its mainstream networking, computing and connectivity and power product lines.

Belkin started its journey with KVM switches. But now it has entered Networking products market for Home/ SOHO/ SMB. What is the reason behind such transition?
Belkin is a global mass brand that provides supporting accessories to every imaginable digital lifestyle gadget or application @home, @work, in-car or on-the-go.
Through 2008, we spent considerable time in test marketing some of our latest products, including KVM and wireless offerings, and in observing key market opportunities for our extensive product line-up, in India. Now that we are ready, and have a full team onboard to drive aggressive operations in India, we are rolling out products in a phased manner.

What are the key offerings you give to your customers vis-a-vis competitors?
Belkin offers a diverse range of networking and connectivity solutions across three screens – Television, mobile phones and laptops/computers. Apart from that, we also offer some very stylish and innovative accessories for MP3 devices, computers and gaming devices.

What is your strategy to tap the Indian market, given the global economic slowdown?
We have already achieved 20% of our annual targets within one month of our launch, so what economic slowdown are you referring to? Our strategy in India is simple – continuously offer innovative, stylish, user-friendly and reliable products at value price points, at retail outlets that serve our customer’s convenience and ever-changing shopping habits, and then back it up with world-class tech support and warranty service.

You think it is right time to invest in India? Justify your answer.
We strongly believe the Indian markets are on a recovery mode and that there is a strong market for high-quality products, especially our kind. The recent CE and IT market tracker reports predict a healthy unit volume growth rate for host devices like MP3, mobiles, laptops, TVs, and other digital lifestyle products over the next 4–12 quarters and this is a good news for a digital lifestyle accessory provider like us. And haven’t smart marketers always entered a competitive market when it is at its lowest curve. And that is what we have done. Why? Well for starters, infrastructure costs are down, good talent is easily available, brand marketing costs are down to realistic levels and customers are very selective in their purchase habits and pick only the best. Given that we have exceeded targets by a considerable margin in our very first month of full-scale operations, we believe we are right in our launch timing,

What is the growth you are targeting in India? How will you go about it?
We aim to touch US$100 million in annual sales volume over the next five years. To achieve this, we have already implemented a hybrid distribution model to derive speed, agility and quick responsiveness in our channel operations. We will further enhance our RMA and tech support service to reach every target market across India. We also plan to gradually roll out our vast product offerings, spanning digital lifestyle applications @work, @home, in car and on-the-go, in all the key markets in India. Additionally, we have plans to develop and launch some India-specific product lines in the near future.

What is your Channel strategy?
We have opted for a hybrid channel infrastructure for accelerated growth and have presently inducted seven regional distributors, each of whom will cater to a well-defined channel markets and retail formats in their assigned territories.

Why a Partner should join Belkin? Or what are the compelling benefits you give to your partners?
Across the world, reseller or retail partners join Belkin because:
* Our sought-after digital lifestyle accessories attract customers to reseller/retail outlets increasing their chances to sell through related products, including host devices like MP3, laptops, Mobile and Gaming consoles.
* Our products guarantee significant margins while adding to their overall top lines.
* Consumers believe Belkin brand is synonymous with innovation, quality, user-friendliness and reliability and they are known to seek advice from Belkin trained resellers to make an informed digital lifestyle asset purchase decision.

What are the key verticals that are driving your growth?
We are industry vertical agnostic. Being a mass brand, we cater to all industry and market segments.

What are your other future plans?
Right now we are focussed on giving our Indian customers a taste of Belkin innovation, business culture and quality of service. By FY 2010, we aim to become the # 1 Provider of Digital Lifestyle Enhancing Solutions.


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