In an interaction with CIO AXIS, Akhilesh Chopra, Sales Director at Bluei, shares mobile accessories market in the backdrop of the challenges and new ways of working brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.
Give a brief about your brand or company? What kind of products/services you are into?
We are one of the best audio product manufactures in India. For the last 11 years, we are doing business in mobile accessories. Bluei is loyal to serve with the best in quality and innovative products and our key focus is on using creative designs, high-quality reliable components with smooth exteriors. We deal in speakers, headphones, earphones, power banks, power cables, car charges, security cameras, wireless keyboards, and mouse. Our goal is to enrich our customers’ personal lifestyle with innovation, technology advancements, and services of superior quality.
In a pandemic how you are handling your business, what are the challenges you face, and how you are going to overcome them?
Everything and everyone has largely gone digital from students learning to their parents working on assignments from home. One of the challenges is establishing a healthy work-life balance despite the two environments (home and work) reside in one location, the home. It is difficult to come up with strategies to deal with mental fatigue as some people are taking care of loved ones while working from home. Balancing the environment is challenging for employees and employers alike. With low morale as an ongoing individual for employers and employees, it is important to stay connected. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and other video chat applications have been used in order to keep the team organized and in communication with one another.
Bluei is also facing the challenge of transportation and delivering the order on time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the retail industry irreparable harm but on the other hand, it has put e-commerce growth on the fast-track mode. Consumers shift to online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic has put e-commerce marketplaces under great pressure, like catering to increased demand with less workforce, while ensuring safety measures. Our delivery team following the guidelines for safety measures. We are getting new queries and online orders. Our distributors also demanding for the product. The situation was very challenging, with the proper planning, support, and coordination from the team we did the job done. We learn from this situation and make ourselves better and ready for any crisis.
What are your expectations from the mobile accessories market?
Smartphones are getting smarter every day. The digital world holds the key to the customer connection. By 2020, customers dominating the digital era would be known as digital natives. As we all know increasing penetration of AI technologies, innovative technological progress in voice recognition systems, wireless charging and audio products, clip-on headphones are the factors driving the growth of the global market. As per my expectation and Bluei research the shipments of mobile accessories, namely wearable bands and TWS devices, to exceed 200 million units and 350 million units respectively in 2021. During the COVID pandemic, people are doing indoor activities such as online learning, working from home and home entertainment, as well as outdoor sports and recreation also continued to rise. These ushers in greater than expected growth, particularly for headphones. Earbuds are expected to grow 39% in 2021 to reach over 350 million units, much more robust than wearable bands, which are expected to grow at 12% in the same year.
How you are managing your funds during COVID?
It’s very challenging for managing funds because we can’t spend money on lavish things. On pandemic, we are spending funds on our hot selling products which are in customer demand like headphone for working professionals and students, earphone and neckband for music and fitness lovers, speakers for entertainment. With the huge demand for headphones and speakers, our revenue graph is rising which shows a positive response from the customer’s end. Once we know the customer’s taste or requirement we invest our fund and time in selling our hot products. There are many other categories of other products which are not in demand, so we decide not to invest money or time in those products. During the lockdown, we also decide to cut down our advertisement and media campaign fund till the pandemic gets over and save money for the future. Work from home concept is good for our company by shutting down our multiple offices we save some of the funds. Our sales team is actively working from home and they know their responsibility, what to do. We can’t shut down our store so we remain open for customer those who want to purchase the products or want to experience the product.
What are your future plans for 2021?
The year 2020 is hijacked by a global pandemic and exposed to major disruption, the world has experienced a lot of heartaches and even more uncertainty. As far as brand positioning is concerned, we are targeting different segments with different products. We are focusing on social media and the internet which has resulted in the rise in the demand for mobile phone accessories. We noticed that online shopping has triggered the demand for mobile phone accessories in India and we are planning for customers for easy buying from our e-commerce platform. We will discuss our strategy with distributors on ‘How Bluei can extend our sales area’ and ‘How can we sever better after-sales services’ to customers. After mid-year, we planned to launch our series of neckbands, headphones, and speakers. In the next two years, we are aiming at a 5-6% market share in the Indian mobile accessories market.
Any suggestions for young entrepreneurs, how to handle this crisis in business?
My suggestion to entrepreneurs is to WORK HARD AND PLAN TO REBOUND. Regardless of what your current days under pandemic look like, you need to keep driving forward with your entrepreneurial spirit. Even though you may have experienced a temporary reduction in business, you need to continue to work hard, and think smart. We don’t know when we will go back to the normal stage, or even what the new normal stage will look like, but what we do know is that this will pass so, be prepared? Analyze each scenario in a crisis like this, and plan your rebound strategy to ensure you’re ready to go. Also, I want to add one thing DON’T QUIT whatever you do, don’t quit. It’s difficult, you may feel like there’s no way through, but this hard time will pass. You will need to dig deep and do things differently. Make tough decisions to survive, but ultimately believe in yourself against all odds. Work hard, learn always, but never quit.