Product positioning is the most important factor in the Indian market: Stefan Schnrich
In conversation with Stefan Schnrich, Owner, Waldmann, who spoke about the brands business expansion in India.
Tags: Waldmann, luxury pen, Germany brand, Amazon, Flipkart, LivTek, Stefan Schnrich, sterling silver pens, Made in Germany, Waldmann pens, International brand, Online Market, Offline market, Retail Format, E-CommerceBY Sunil Pol | December 21, 2017 | comments ( 0 ) |
Germany based luxury pen maker Waldmann, also known for its high-quality materials and craftsmanship with excellent technical functionality, shape and design, has entered the Indian market with its unique collection of pens after the long years of stint in the world market. The brand is ready to tap in the Indian market. It thinks that in the last 5 years India has made giant strides and International brands are eyeing this market with its large consumer base where the income levels are fast rising, and the need for using superior quality products is now appreciated. With its retail strategy, the brand is not targeting mere volumes, but is counting on the appreciation of the products and building a niche segment for the Waldmann brand. Currently it has a strong presence on Amazon, Flipkart and LivTek India websites while in offline space it is available in selective stores at metros. Thus, talking about its future moves in the Indian market Stefan Schnrich, Owner, Waldmann spoke to Indianretailer.com during his India visit in Mumbai.
What is the uniqueness of the brand Waldmann?
The unique feature is that Waldmann sterling silver pens are 100 percent manufactured in Germany with ‘Made in Germany’ stamp. The brand is the result of design and craftsmanship; which is the heritage of Waldmann since its foundation in 1918. The brand has a rich tradition of manufacturing and crafting costly quality products, using gold, silver and diamonds in manufacture of various products, ranging from jewellery items to writing instruments. The products are made by a combination of modern technology with pure craftsmanship, with 70 percent of the manufacturing being undertaken by seasonal craftsmen from the Black Forest in the jewellery metropolis of Pforzheim in Germany. We are the only manufacturer in the world using sterling silver 925 for producing pens.
What led you to enter the Indian market after long years of stint in the world market?
We had presence in India some while back, more so in South. We have recently ventured in India, with more presence in South, however, with limited inputs we established the brand. This has particular relevance as the Waldmann brand requires to be projected not only as an expensive range with pens available for special occasions, such as engagements- marriages-birthdays-anniversaries, but also, higher quality standard elegant pens for routine use which add to the noticeability of the user.
Why do you think the Indian market is now ready for Waldmann pens?
India has in the last decade and particularly in the last 5 years made giant strides and International brands are eyeing India with its large consumer base where the income levels are rising fast, and the need for using superior quality products is now appreciated. In fact, virtually all Indians having access to basic education use a pen - be it a ballpoint or a fountain pen and with the quantum shift in earnings and the charm of possessing a foreign brand which is not something everyone has and brings noticeability, definitely points to the readiness of the Indian market for the high quality elegant Waldmann sterling silver pens.
Which factors could drive your sales in this diversified market?
It is the product positioning which is most important. Whilst in the pen segment there are the traditional brands which have been here for decades, the new brands, do have an uphill task in terms of consumer knowledge and acceptance. Waldmann, 100 percnet made in Germany, has a great edge over other lifestyle brands. Product design, the quality and the materials used, and the craftsmanship during manufacturing single-out the brand.
What could be your go to market strategy?
The strategy is not to go in for mere volumes, but to count on the appreciation of the products and build a niche segment for the Waldmann brand. In this we require to get the brand known and we are targeting coverage in both print and online media and through websites; the thrust in the retail stores to take place once the pull for the product picks-up.
Among Indian consumers how do you see the aspiration level for Waldmann pens?
Whilst Indian consumers value silver pens, there is an inbuilt feeling that the silver pens are meant for special occasions such as engagements, marriages, birthdays, anniversaries etc, and perhaps not for routine usage. There is a perception that the pens would require special care and maintenance, overlooking that if the pens are put into routine day-to-day use, which is the case for the quantum of pens in the low to medium range, the upkeep of the silver pen is not much different from any high range pen which you naturally handle with care.
What is your strategy for the offline and online presence of the product across metros?
Waldmann has a strong online presence - being on E-Commerce websites of Amazon, Flipkart and LivTek India websites. Also, Waldmann pens are in demand by pen lovers and several customers approach for the products not only on sites but direct to the distributor-marketing agents. It may be noted that the retail presence of Waldmann is in its infancy and only in selective stores in metro cities and that this too will require to be enlarged.
In this digital era why do you think that the convenience of writing on paper is irreplaceable?
The digital era has really not had that much impact on the aspect of writing and surprisingly the demand of pens has not gone down in India. On the contrary the same has increased, and with the explosion in education and higher income levels, the propensity to own high range pens which fall in the category of lifestyle products, continues to be much sought after.
Whilst the way of pens amongst businessmen and professionals has much reduced, the need to possess pens, even for limited writing use, is still prevalent. Number of pens used by an individual is much more than for watches, but even men who are by no stretch pen lovers, like to own and use from time-to-time, different pens. And in India, to have a pen which not necessarily is black, has caught on.