Seagate channel strategy
Seagate Technology has appointed two new national distributors, Supertron Electronics Ltd. (SEL) and Fortune Marketing Private Limited, joining its existing distributors Ingram Micro and Redington, in a distribution network that enhances the availability of Seagate products across India.
Leveraging the combined strength of all the four distribution partners, Seagate intends to grow its market share leadership in India, as confirmed by reports from independent market researcher AC Nielsen and the PCQuest magazine. Supertron Electronics Ltd. is one of the country’s leading distributors, with a major presence in local areas. Headquartered in Kolkata, it is ranked among the DQ top-ten distribution club. Fortune Marketing Private Limited has a vast network of over 2,500 dealers and offices, providing market penetration and the unique ability to support end-customers in the retail segment.
“Studies show that market and user preference is in favour of Seagate. We would like to build on this strength and ensure that we have optimal coverage of the market - across geographies, across industry segments and across vertical markets - which is why we added our new distributors Supertron Electronics and Fortune marketing,” said Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager of Seagate in India. “We also want to reach out to the growing user segments who demand the latest high-capacity drives and best-in-class support. Ingram Micro and Redington, which have been working with Seagate for over 10 years, have invested in building their infrastructure for sales and support, and are well-suited to continue covering high-cap and retail product lines for Seagate.”
“Seagate is a world leader in hard disc drives, and enjoys a very strong brand loyalty in India. Seagate’s external drives and branded solutions are a major draw in the retail market,” said Manoj Gupta, CEO, Fortune Marketing Private Limited. According to V. K. Bhandari, Chief Managing Director, Supertron Electronics Ltd., Seagate has always been a best seller for SEL. “Their new high-capacity disc drives are the right fit for today’s customers as enterprises and individuals are both consuming digital content like never before,” he added. Seagate’s customer support network in the country includes its 43-city SeaCare program manned by trained staff, a SMS (Short Message Service) Customer Care offering, which guides users to the nearest service centres or gives the status of warranty, as well as mobile service vans catering to the trade hubs in New Delhi and Mumbai. The company also recently authorized its vast network of Seagate Premier Partners (SPPs) to accept hard drives under warranty from consumers.
Flip side …
However, as per the industry sources, the company’s woes are far from over. The company’s business model in India was aligned with seven import partners and two national distributors - Ingram Micro and Redington apart from eSys. All the import partners were sourcing products from eSys and the billing was being made in the dollar mode. And, these import partners were responsible for more than 60 per cent of the Seagate’s business in India.
The import partners were doing business through the dollar mode now they find it very difficult to adapt their process to rupee billing. As per the industry sources, there are no instructions for the partners from Seagate in terms of their engagement with the company. And, on top of this the imbroglio between the vendor and eSys has stopped the shipments for the past one month. So, without the contribution of their import partners (Elcom, Sanghvi, Jupiter, SES and Compuage) who were so far holding the business strongly in India, Seagate would surely find it difficult to have a smooth sailing.
Sunil Narang of Elcom Trading says, “Elcom is the first importer of Seagate to India and we have been loyal to the company ever since the vendor started operations. In the past, there have been similar kinds of issues which have been resolved, but the recent situation seems to be a roadblock for us.” When asked about the situation, Alok Garodia of Jupiter International said he would have to evaluate the whole situation before telling anything.
However, Mr. Sanghvi of Sanghvi Systems says, “If the situation persists like this, we will have to evaluate the competition products. And, for Seagate the current stance will surely tell upon its market share in India.” He added, “HDD business involves a lot of money and vision as well, I do not see any of the distributors having a vision and understanding for the HDD business in India.”