When an old-school consumer electronics firm decides to work with a new –age ecommerce startup, it brings together two completely different yet dynamic set of energies under one roof.
BPL, a consumer electronics manufacturing scion, exited the market in 2005 after a collapse of a JV with Sanyo. Last year however; a consumer feedback conducted by a leading business magazine showed that BPL still was among the most preferred brands by consumers. This triggered a huge amount of interest from Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, who then approached BPL for a tie-up. The e-commerce giant, which sells the maximum number of TV sets , re-launched BPL ‘s products on its platform.
What is to work with a new age e-commerce firm?
BPL was a household name in the 90s and early 2000s and its television sets were also a part of army camps during the Kargil war. In early 90s, when BPL was at its hiatus, terms like e-commerce and online retail were alien terminologies. Today, when almost 50 million Indians shop online, it can get challenging for a veteran firm to work together with a new-age company.
Talking about the advantages of having a tie-up with an ecommerce firm General Manager Manmohan Ganesh said that today when a product gets sold within half an hour to one hour max you get customer’s feedback, your pricing model is very transparent and the penetration of logistics pan India.
Despite being on a large platform, BPL decided to stand by the company’s principles regarding product quality and pricing. BPL has opted to exclusively sell online, with an initial 3 year engagement with Flipkart , who is also always on the prowl to onboard reliable brands on its platform. Together they aim to achieve 10% of all TV sales of Flipkart in another 12 months and achieve revenue of 600 crores annually in the next 3 years.
Learning from each other
Speaking about the experience of working with Flipkart, BPL Chairman Ajit Nambiar said that it was a new experience for both the companies and both the firms are jointly undergoing a symbiotic learning experience.
“We have developed an understanding of each others’ needs and we are able to get on the same wavelength and even discuss new product ideas with their teams,” Ajit added.
“We did notice that whenever we went to their office we were the only grey-haired guys out there,” Ganesh said. BPL has insisted that they want to focus on consistent growth and that it does not believe in shortcuts to regain the long-term sustainable comeback in the market.
It has been 5 months since they started their sales and already the numbers have seen significant increase. Currently they are selling about 15000 sets a month and are well poised to hit a significant number closer to the festival season. BPL also plans to launch washing machines and other appliances in the near future.