Usha International sharpens its rural focus

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

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Will look to strengthen last-mile connectivity with retailers

To increase its reach in the rural regions, Usha International is rejigging its distribution strategy as well as opening up company-owned brand stores in Tier 3 and Tier 4 towns.

Dinesh Chhabra, CEO, Usha International, told BusinessLine: “We are focusing on strengthening our distribution in the rural region for a stronger last-mile connect with retailers. We are appointing integrated rural distributors who will sell all our products, such as fans, kitchen appliances and sewing machines. We have already appointed 40 integrated rural distributors and expect to have 175 such distributors by the end of this fiscal.”

Towns with a population below one lakh have been identified as rural regions and the company believes that tapping into these regions is the key to growth.

Chhabra said each of these integrated rural distributors will serve about 200 retailers in Tier 3 and Tier 4 towns. Also, Usha is taking the company-owned brand stores strategy to rural regions under the brand Usha Joy.

Usha Joy stores

“We have opened the first store at Barabanki and have seen tremendous success. For now, we have plans to open four more Usha Joy stores in the next few months,” he added. The company already has about 60 company-owned showrooms in urban regions.

As far as distribution in urban areas is concerned, the company is appointing exclusive distributors and, again, focusing on strong linkages with urban retailers.

The company believes that cooking and home appliances will be a key growth pillar in the future.

“The depth of penetration for kitchen and home appliances is still low, especially in rural areas. We will focus on growing this for the next two-three years. We believe this category will be a game-changer and has huge potential,” he added. The appliances category, which includes cooking appliances and home appliances such as water heaters and coolers, is one of its fastest growing categories and contributes about 20 per cent to Usha International’s revenues which stand at about ₹2,000 crore.

Talking about the e-commerce strategy, Chhabra said that the e-commerce channel needs to evolve.

While e-commerce sites need to look beyond discounts and have long-term strategies in place, companies need to focus on using the channel effectively to reach out to consumers.

E-commerce tie-ups

“While we will be tying up with more e-commerce portals, especially specialty sites. We also plan to open our own online brand store,” Chhabra added.

He said that instead of focusing on discounting, the company will look at offering value-added services to consumers, such as offering free sewing or cooking classes on the purchase of a product.

Published on December 14, 2015

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