In an exclusive conversation, Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer & Gaming PC, System Business Group, Asus India, talks about the brand's omnichannel strategy in the new normalcy. He also speaks about the measures taken by Asus to deal with COVID-19, along with their retail expansion strategy.
What would your omnichannel strategy be in the new normalcy?
The customer is always the focal point of all sales and marketing strategies planned and implemented at ASUS. The crux of our pre- and post-pandemic strategies remains the same: achieving improved engagement and establishing successful customer connect by providing them with a ‘seamless’ and ‘connected’ brand experience.
It is true that, due to the pandemic, customers have become more accustomed to the online mode of shopping. However, there will always be a need for meaningful ‘real-world’ experiences that only physical stores can offer. We believe that the convergence of online and offline is the most viable way forward for us in the new normal. Our omnichannel focus, therefore, will be on managing the customer experience and engagement through unparalleled accessibility and convenience.
What are the measures taken or planned by ASUS to deal with COVID-19?
While we have adhered to all government safety norms from the beginning, devising and implementing uniform guidelines for all stores is difficult due to differences in-store layout, customer flow, and the willingness of customers to comply with social distancing advice. This is why we have come up with general principles to help our retailers ensure adequate social distancing. These guidelines are based on the fundamentals of operations management and restricting traffic flow within the store. We are also ensuring that customers who visit our stores get their temperatures checked, disinfect their hands, and wear masks at all times.
We have also incorporated cutting-edge technology in our retail stores for a smooth and comfortable shopping experience.
- Aiding Affordability: Every AES has an Amazon Pay QR code that enables the customer to purchase the product without direct contact. It also helps them to en-cash on offers and EMI options readily available on the products.
- Google My Business Accounts: We have encouraged all our retail partners and AES to have Google My Business accounts. This helps us provide all the information about ASUS products to customers and also gives our sales force an opportunity to initiate one-on-one engagement. The customer, on the other hand, benefits from expert guidance in the purchase journey, from the start to the end.
- Lead management System: We have successfully implemented a lead management system to ensure we provide the best service to our customers and encourage them to return to shop with us. We have a dedicated team to track all the leads generated from the ‘where to buy’ page. We also monitor our response management to save on time and ensure customers handholding through-out their purchase journey.
This contactless shopping experience has enhanced our customer base, especially during the pandemic.
What is your retail expansion strategy? Also, what are the key markets for ASUS in India?
Retail expansion is one of the fundamental pillars of our business strategy and we have made a considerable effort on that front. To bolster our vision to push on from the No.3 to the No.1 consumer PC brand in India by 2021, we continuously monitor the progress of our extensive retail expansion strategy. The priority remains to provide a seamless, premium, and accessible shopping experience to our offline customers.
This is why all 100 ASUS Exclusive Stores (AES) in India are powered by state-of-the-art technology and design, including the latest cutting-edge, Pegasus-designed facilities. To ensure the easy offline availability of our products, we have also expanded the premium Shop-in-Shop (SIS) model in multi-format retail stores and, at present, have around 100 SIS. This is in addition to the 500 premium kiosks that we have available in retail stores across India.
As evident from our retail strategy, we have aggressively expanded on a pan-India level and have not limited our retail footprint to metros alone. Tier-II and tier-III markets are equally important and our efforts are to empower people with technology in regional geographies as well.
How many retail and exclusive stores do you have in India? What are the plans to invest in the Indian market?
India is one of the largest retail destinations in the world and is one of the key markets for ASUS. We will continue to make strategic investments to drive our omnichannel approach and expand our offline retail footprint.
Do you also have franchise stores? If yes, how many more stores are you opening?
Yes, the ASUS Exclusive Stores operate on a franchisee model. We are planning to open 100 more AES across key tier-1 and tier-2 markets. We also plan to add 100 more Store-in-Store (SIS) in multi-format retail stores on a pan-India level.
Please elaborate about the future plans to launch ASUS stores in India.
As mentioned above, we have around 100 AES, 100 SIS, and 500 in-store kiosks across India. Our target is to have 200 AES across all key metros and tier-2 cities by March 2021 and also increase the number of SIS and in-store kiosks to 400 and 2000, respectively.