Ramping up its offline presence in the country, Toshiba Home Appliance Business has launched its first exclusive store in India. Opened in Bangalore, the Toshiba Lifestyle Centre is expected to deliver first-hand experience of its home appliances range including refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, water purifiers, and air purifiers.
Speaking to Business Today exclusively, Pranab Mohanty, Vice President and Business Head, Toshiba Home Appliance Business, shared the company's retail strategy for India. "Consumers want to interact with the brand, touch, feel and experience the products in their natural habitat, before making their purchase decisions. This is what the Toshiba Lifestyle Centre offers. We plan to open 10-15 exclusive stores by the end of this year. We have already shortlisted some places in Mumbai and Delhi, and are also exploring locations in Ahmedabad and Pune."
In 2021, Toshiba aims to further strengthen its dealer base across India through an extensive retail network of large format stores, multi-brand outlets, and a robust dealer network across India. "We are also partnering with retailers to create an experience zone within their store. We plan to expand shop-in-shop presence and will have stores in Kolkata, Punjab and other cities," adds Mohanty.
With most of the consumer durables brands available across offline and online retail, Toshiba Home Appliances Business had consciously started with the offline channel and is gradually expanding in online retail. "Consumers prefer to experience, have a look and feel before purchasing a mid-premium home appliance. That said, given the changing consumer behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers are opting for online purchase as well. To address demand, our partners who are in offline retail can also sell online, as this helps in maintaining price hygiene," avers Mohanty.
At the moment, over 85 per cent of Toshiba Home Appliances are imported from the company's Thailand manufacturing plant and the remaining 15 per cent from China. Toshiba had plans to set up a home appliance manufacturing facility in India, which got pushed back due to COVID-19 pandemic. But given the current circumstances, the company is very optimistic of establishing it towards the end of this year.