UK-based technology company, Dyson, entered the Indian consumer durable space in August last year and launched air purifiers, vacuum cleaner and hairdryer in February this year. The company is expanding its footprint in India with the launch of new products, two new stores and making products available for purchase through Dyson India. Charlie Park, Head of Product Development - Floorcare, Dyson, in conversation with Business Today, talks about the company's growth and strategy in India.
BT: Dyson entered the Indian market in February this year. How has been the customer response?
Park: India is an exciting market for us and we believe our technology can solve some real problems here. My impression is that Indian people like Dyson machines because they want technology which solves problems and works better. Unlike other hair dryers, the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, for example, dries hair fast without damaging it and that's why it is being embraced in India and all over the world. The same goes for our bladeless fan technology that creates smooth airflow and our vacuum cleaners that don't lose suction.
BT: What kind of growth you have registered in the Indian market and what is your sales target for this financial year?
Park: I am afraid we don't share sale and target numbers. But what I can say that the customer response has been extremely positive and has exceeded our expectations.
BT: You are launching new models in just six months. Have they been customized for the Indian market?
Park: We sell our machines in over 75 markets but our ethos is always the same. Our goal is to make things work better. It's a simple ethos, but one that pushes us forward globally. That's why our products are consistent in terms of technology and materials used around the world. Our customization is primarily around launching the relevant SKU that is more relevant for a market and same is the case with India. For example, in India, we launched our latest cord-free vacuum cleaners in India with V8 absolute and now V10 and not the full size corded vacuums. We have also launched a specific variant in India depending on the use cases but these are from our global portfolio sold across all countries.
As we expand our operations in India, Dyson is constantly studying the market to understand its challenges and further use this knowledge into developing machines/technologies that are most suitable. We have already embarked on first of its kind 'dust study' to understand the issue of household hidden dust in India.
BT: You are selling using both offline and online channels. What has worked better for the brand?
Park: In today's age, both offline and online channels co-exist with one complementing the other.
At Dyson, both offline and online channels are working well. We have seen customers researching about our machine online and then come to our demo store to see it in action and then make a purchase either online or offline.
Dyson believes in demonstrating its technology to show how different and better it is. Offline channels like our demo stores and In-Home demo service, therefore work very well in this aspect. However, we have consumers all across India and to make it convenient for them to buy Dyson machines we have our online channels like our official website and Amazon.
BT: Are you planning to expand your offline footprint in India?
Park: Yes. Dyson believes in demonstrating its technology to show how different and better it is. Offline channels like Dyson demo stores in DLF Promenade and Select City walk in New Delhi and VR Mall in Bangalore, as well as our unique In-Home demo service, works very well in this aspect. Our In-home demo service is also our global first that offer consumers the complete experience of Dyson technology in the convenience and comfort of their homes. Currently, this service is available in Delhi NCR and Bangalore.
Moving forward, we will continue to invest in these channels and expand our offline footprint to other big cities. In addition, we regularly do pop up stores in various malls across the country to offer consumers more touch points to experience our technology.
BT: How big the Dyson India team is now, how much has it expanded since the company started its operations in India?
Park: Dyson follows a direct business model in India and we have invested in high-quality people to ensure we deliver a world-class customer experience across all customer touch points.
We have grown 3 times since the launch with over 100 employees across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and will continue to recruit as we expand our presence to new cities.
BT: Do you think it is feasible to set up a manufacturing unit in India for domestic consumption as well as export to other regions?
Park: We follow a global supply chain model. At this stage, we do not have any immediate plans to set up our manufacturing unit. However, we do have concrete plans to source components and raw materials as a part of our global procurement strategy.
BT: What is your go-to-market strategy now? How do you plan to communicate with the customer?
We believe that we need to reach discerning people who believe in the power of technology and understand it can play an important role in solving real problems. These could be urban parents, women professionals who want clean homes and healthy, shiny hair and a host of other segments. Our strategy is based on media that will enable us to reach these segments in the right context and the intelligent use of digital marketing is an important cornerstone of our go to market plans. Since a lot of our agenda is around education on problems such as indoor pollution, dust and hair damage, we also work with influencers and key opinion leaders who can try our machines, give us feedback and help spread the word about our machines. Our technology is innovative, pioneering and relevant so every element of our go to market strategy leverages this.