Symantec to expand Reach to 300 Locations
What is your Channel strategy for 2009?
We are looking at expanding our channel footprint across the country. We already have a very well-established footprint in most of the metropolitan cities, i.e. the top 8 cities in the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. But most of the consumer PC growth is coming in from tier 2 markets like Ludhiana, Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal, Cochin, Madurai, Mysore, Mangalore, Coimbatore and Vizag. We are looking at expanding our distribution network in these cities. As a process of that, in the last six months we have appointed new sub-distributors in Guwahati, Indore, Ludhiana and Udaipur.
Going forward, we would continue to support our sub-distributors and resellers into expanding their footprints into the tier 2 cities. For example, from Ludhiana we are looking at supplying into the entire Punjab region and from Guwahati into the entire northeast region.
What is your roadmap for 2009?
As far as distribution is concerned, we will be going full stem ahead and try to reach out to maximum numbers of resellers through the Norton Champs programme and through our expanded sub-distribution network. We would be doing smaller channel meets in tier 2 cities. We have just conducted some of them in Lucknow, Varanasi and Udaipur. So, we would be expanding on that part and try to build personal rapport with the resellers in the tier 2 cities as well.
What are the challenges that resellers face in today’s difficult economic climate selling Norton products?
As such, there is not much of a problem that resellers are facing in selling the Norton products. Because security is the utmost need of the consumers and people don’t compromise when it comes to security. No matter whatever kind of economic recession you are in, you would not compromise on the quality of the lock that you would put in the house. So, it is exactly like putting the lock on your PC to protect your data, to protect your information and identity. So, actually the reseller is not facing much of an issue selling Norton products but of course the recession being a reality, there is definitely liquidity crunch in the market that we see. Because of that resellers are facing bit of a problem in terms of rotation of money.
As there are many other competitors in the market, do you think they also add to your worries?
Well, there is competition. At the end of the day, there are no exclusive resellers of any products – be it hardware market or software market. It is a buyer’s market in today’s date and all the resellers have to give the choice to the consumers. So, most of the resellers sell most of the products to consumers as an offering to them.
Can you explain more about your Channel programme called Norton Champs?
Norton Champs is primarily an online loyalty programme which we run for the tier 2 resellers. Every purchase that our resellers make for Norton products from any of our sub-distributors in their region, they can go Norton Champs and log in their purchase details. They earn points on every Norton box they sell and based on that they can keep accumulating points which never expire. So, they can accumulate points for two years and then go on the Norton Champs website and redeem those points against rewards starting from a perfume to a bike to a car, etc. In addition to that, on a quarterly basis as well we run programmes for these resellers. Of course, those are time-bound schemes and run from quarter to quarter where we reward them with holidays to exotic locations, consumer goods, and at times gold.
How do you take up the competition?
We talk about our technology, our response centres, our infrastructure, because we have the largest infrastructure as against any of the security company in the market. We update our products every 5–15 minutes, so that consumers have up-to-date protection on their PCs. In addition to that, we have the lightest products in the industry. Our technology is our USP, which is the basis of our products.
How do you plan to maintain this leadership position?
The key is again the channel. We are reaching out to the end-consumer through the channel, through our P.O.P. material, through educating the channel and spreading awareness among customers. It is our duty to bring the consumer over to a reseller outlet. And again, distribution is another key through which we are reaching out to maximum resellers to sell the products to the consumer.
What are the challenges before you?
India is a large country. There is always a cost factor which is pegged to expansion. The more we reach out to every nook and corner of the country, the more is our cost of servicing those areas. But we are not letting that deter us; we are going as per our plans in terms of reaching out to these cities.