Tiles are an important part of the home and office decor. They change the entire look and feel of the building. The industry is largely fragmented, and there lies an underlying opportunity to tap the customer friction points and expand the branded sector. And Orientbell Tiles is contributing to the growth of the industry by tapping this opportunity.
With over 3,000+ designs and a strong distribution network of 2,500+ channel partners, the company is disrupting the buying & selling of tiles with its digital tools.
Aditya Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Orientbell Tiles, says, “At Orientbell Tiles, we are determined to make the tile buying journey of our customers easier, simpler, and more transparent. We make tiling easier for both B2B as well as B2C customers, and hence enable a bouquet of services that make the products more accessible to all.”
“We have a strong focus on the digital space which sets us apart from our competitors and this is something we will continue to focus on. We see ourselves as early adopters of technology and we believe that over the next few years this is going to drive our revenue growth faster, in the industry,” he adds.
The Impact of the Pandemic
Given the work-from-home situation and the closure of most major markets, retail has suffered. Larger projects (construction) continue albeit hampered by labor availability. These lockdowns will postpone demand by a quarter or so but the medium to long-term outlook remains good.
“Fortunately for us, we have been investing heavily in digital tools to ease the consumer buying experience even before the pandemic, which in turn has helped us be better prepared for this situation. And we are leveraging the newfound comfort that customers experience through online mediums. The pandemic has also offered opportunities for innovation and enhanced customer experience, and our teams successfully lapped those up,” says Gupta.
“We have designed and patented two new variants of tiles, entirely based on customers’ needs. To share one of these, given the higher reliance on the internet, and the need for data localization, there is a boom in data-center construction. This required tiles that would prevent sparks and have conductive properties. This gave birth to anti-static tiles. Similarly, the crucially high need for sanitization in hospitals sowed the idea for producing anti-viral tiles, which kills 99 percent of the virus (mRNA virus) in just 2 hours. While anti-bacterial tiles have been around for a long time, we are the first company in India to launch anti-viral vitrified tiles,” he adds.
Developing the Omnichannel Strategy
In the current times, it is not enough to have an online or offline presence, everything must be interconnected. The main aim of the company should be to allow purchases to occur naturally and fluently through the channel their customer chooses.
“At Orientbell Tiles, we will always have a healthy mix of online discovery and offline store experiences. We have over 2,500+ channel partners all over India and they perform a vital role in ensuring that the tile buying experience and delivery are streamlined. In addition, they are in touch with the requirement of contractors and masons. Hence, ours is a category that will always operate through a channel partner in this industry,” he asserts.
“When it comes to the online world, Orientbell Tiles is present at every touchpoint and we aim to engage with our customers through content that is relevant and speaks to their needs - be it through our social media platforms, website, or through emails. Our goal is to give them the inspiration that they are looking for and to make their overall experience of purchasing tiles easier. Our online strategy is to be present 24*7 wherever the customer is and provide them with relevant content,” he adds.
With a vast variety of products to choose from, the effort that the customers put into the search and discovery process for their ideal tile is high. To make this simpler, the brand has a mix of on-ground and online tools to help customers visualize how a tile would look in their room while its channel partners physically showcase the tile as well. This helps create a seamless experience for the customers.
“Moreover, we try to reach consumers via our website and various digital platforms for a great experience of choosing the tiles from the comforts of their home. This mix of on-ground retail presence and online presence will help us in reaching the wider section of consumers across India,” he shares.
As far as offline presence is concerned, Orientbell Tiles has a stronger presence in the North and Eastern parts of India. The brand is now planning to expand its presence in the South and West as well.
Orientbell Tiles is using technological tools to pave the way for a new buying experience, and transforming the tile market in India.
“We use technology to simplify the choices and enable an easy selection of the tiles. Once the consumer has selected a tile, he can, at the retail outlet, complete a quick and easy visualization step with Quicklook, our proprietary software. Our channel partners find this magical with the options it can provide shoppers for laying tiles and creating different looks for their rooms. It even calculates the exact number of tiles and provides a quotation making it a transparent retail experience. More than 200 channel partners are using it and new ones are adopting this technology, every day,” Gupta states.
“Other digital initiatives include the launch of ‘Sarathi’, an online chatbot service to provide 24x7 assistance and query answering service to our sales team. In addition to this, our Analytical Tool helps our sales team to track KPI across channel partners and plan their strategies,” he asserts.
The brand also leverages tech for its channel partners. It digitizes the transaction history for the channel partners through a mobile app called 'OBL Connect'.
"This app helps all channel partners to see all transaction-related documents online, be it, invoices, payments, etc. In addition to this, it also helps in looking at the stock availability of the products including the images, details of the products which makes the buying, selling process easier,” he explains.
Digital Initiatives to Innovate Business
The Internet has enabled multiple touchpoints for retailers to contact their consumers. For example, you may read an SMS from a friend you know, search on Google, connect with your friends on Facebook, understand professional developments on Linkedin, have a corridor conversation on Twitter, or entertain yourself on Youtube. So, wherever you are, the brand needs to connect with you addressing the mindset you are in and delivering the most impactful message.
“To give you an example, #ChoteBathroomKeBadeUpay initiative, we engaged 1-on-1 with our customers and shared tips to make their individual bathrooms more spacious," he explains.
In addition, we leverage digital to give voice to the issues and challenges faced in our category. For example, #HandsThatBuildIndia recognised the contribution of masons in building our homes and offices. Another example, #QueenOfChoices, was our attempt to encourage women to shop for tiles. We keep trying to make tile buying less daunting and address key issues faced by most customers,” he further adds.
Orientbell Tiles will continue on its path for digital transformation and innovation in line with consumer demands. It will also follow sustainable practices by increasing the usage of renewable energy. The brand also ensures zero wastewater gets discharged from its factories.
“In terms of the growth strategy for 2021, we will continue on our path for digital transformation and customer-centric innovation. The addition of new Orientbell Tile Boutiques (OBTBs) is an important agenda of our retail strategy. In FY20-21, we opened 69 new tile boutiques in targeted cities and we will continue to add more,” Gupta concludes.