Retail innovation in consumer electronics is lightning fast today and ASUS’ reputation precedes itself in that space. Ranking second in India with a 20 percent market share in Q3 2022 in the Consumer NB segment, ASUS executes a 360-degree diversification strategy across product verticals, retail and e-tail footprint to serve its customers as per their convenience. Shortly after the inauguration of its third Pegasus store in New Delhi at Nehru Place, Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer and Gaming PC, System Business Group, ASUS India, explained the brand’s omnichannel retail strategy.
ASUS officially unveiled its Indian online store in 2021 that offered the brand’s laptops and smartphones to buyers across the country. The e-shop offers the brand’s extensive range of gaming and consumer laptops, and the company’s flagship smartphones. The website has conveniences such as free delivery, promo offers, call centre support across 220+ service locations, and real-time status tracking through MyAccount. Besides the dedicated e-venue, ASUS products are also available on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.
Matching such digital agility is its massive retail network of 190 plus ASUS-exclusive outlets and 1,200 premium kiosks in Tier III and Tier IV cities. In addition, the brand deploys products to 6,000 authorized dealer shops, and is available at multi-brand retail outlets such as Croma, Vijay Sales, and Reliance Digital. Executing emerging trends in retailing, ASUS also takes pride in its autonomous entity Republic of Gamers (ROG). As the name suggests, ROG houses all the latest technology and geek gadgetry for the bustling gaming community of India.
Ensuring a seamless functionality across such digital and retail touchpoints is ASUS’ real-time stock availability information on their store locator page. This means that a customer can check the availability of products online before accessing any store of choice.
Serving Pro-digital Consumers, Post-pandemic
Tough times during the pandemic demanded drastic disruptions to provide value to customers at their doorsteps. Dependent completely on internet, consumers began relying on social media and opinions of influencers, designers, creators, vloggers, and artists, who majorly shaped their preferences.
“In the pandemic period, people realized that mobile phones were for content consumption and laptops were for creating serious content. Therefore, demand for premium laptops with good hardware configurations rose,” said Su, explaining the uptick in the average selling price of laptops in general, and a steady rise in demand for gaming and creator-series laptops.
As the social media savvy consumers preferred to scan several digital platforms before arriving at an informed purchase decision, ASUS offered experientially grand outlets for customers to have a physical interface with products, especially for high-end deals. Adding on to the wow factor of retail experience was the plethora of payment options, ranging from easy installments, Buy Now Pay Later options, percentage discounts on using particular credit cards or payment gateways, cashback incentives, and vouchers.
‘Buy Now Pay Later’, particularly, became popular during the Covid period, prompting the tech MNC to offer various options between paper finance and card finance. “We on-boarded top players in each of this space including Bajaj Finance, HDB, PineLabs, and Paytm, to name a few. To suit the customer needs, we have several short-term and long-term EMI options on these platforms. EMI schemes have helped customers opt for higher ticket-size products, thereby helping us grow our ASP (average selling price),” he maintained, adding that cashback offers also enticed customers browsing online, while offline purchases were more on credit card.
Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer and Gaming PC, System Business Group, ASUS India
USPs of the Tech Giant
Constant innovation is mandatory to surpass market standards, and ASUS has earned its reputation as one of the leading global laptop brands through extensive customer research and application of new technologies to enhance stability, performance, ergonomics, and productivity.
The brand is confident of its two recent innovations — OLED Display and ASUS AI Noise-cancelling Technology. “We recently launched the world’s first 17.3” foldable laptop, the ‘ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’, which uses a proprietary foldable hinge design.
ASUS has also established itself as the pioneer in the dual-screen laptop segment. “Our experience with dual-screen machines and a typical form factor helped create new segments in the market that didn’t exist before, with the introduction of ROG Zephyrus Duo and Zenbook 14 Duo OLED that play a significant role in our premium segment and business,” said Su, sharing the aim to democratize OLED technology.
The Pegasus stores of ASUS adds on to the immersive journey by providing first-hand experience of the iconic innovations ranging across consumer PCs, gaming laptops, creator series, All-In-One desktops, and other accessories. Live demonstrations increase retail differentiation, which in turn boost the appetite for gaming devices and laptops. Su corroborates the fact with average selling price of this vertical becoming more affordable.
“Earlier, for a proper gaming laptop, you had to spend around Rs 80,000, but in 2022 you can buy a decent model for Rs 50,000. In 2016, India’s gaming laptop market was only 40,000 units, as compared to 2021, when it increased to 800,000 units. The consumer laptop division also expanded from 4 million to 6 million,” he explained.
The brand is also gaining mass exposure with their ‘Try it’ touch points at eight of its gaming exclusive stores. These touch points allow e-sports enthusiasts and gamers to enjoy latest tech tools at designated gaming zones, free of cost.
Collaborations That Excite Users
Understanding the pulse of the target audience is mandatory, and in the ever-evolving world of marketing flooded with influencers of all scale and expertise, credibility alone helps brands break the ice with new customers.
Therefore, ASUS partnered with the right set of celebrities and influencers such as Aawez Darbar, Harsh Beniwal, Funcho, JS Films, and Beebom. The tech giant also made its mark with a TVF Originals collaboration for a new web series titled ‘Followers’.
The ROG gaming segment reached out to budding and veteran gamers through the ROG Academy, which trains budding e-sports players. “We have collaborated with e-sports psychologists, international coaches such as Dr Janki and Ewok, and pro gamer Vikrant Pujari to help players with a new perspective as well as equip them with tips and tricks around e-sports,” Su said.
ASUS relies on the increasing purchasing power of suburban markets, which often have a higher demand for convenience and accessibility. “We are continually onboarding new dealers. Our strategy is to open stores in high-traffic locations that are easily accessible to customers, both in urban and suburban areas,” he added.
With more than 190 ASUS exclusive stores and 9 ROG exclusive stores, ASUS is doubling down its retail footprint to secure the top position in the Indian market. By the end of 2023, the brand plans to gain a target market share of 30 percent, with a resolve to add at least 20 stores every quarter.