Online shopping has always been a fun experience for consumers but an even more joyful one is offline shopping. For consumer electronics, e-commerce has been playing a major role but when it comes to the offline market, a strong player in the field is Vijay Sales.
Sandeep Budki from The Mobile Indian recently caught up with Nilesh Gupta, Director,Vijay Sales. The interaction revolved around the foundation of Vijay Sales and what the electronics retail company has achieved so far. Here’s the excerpt from the same:
Nanu Gupta, founder and chairman of Vijay Sales started the company back in 1965. So what has been the ideology and story behind the foundation of the company?
Bade Sir ( Nanu Gupta) had been working as a distributor with Usha company that still makes Fans and Sewing Machines. So before coming to Mumbai, he had learnt everything related to the products. To make an identity and an earning for himself, sir started Vijay Sales as a small showroom with sewing machines and radios.
Things evolved and today we are selling more products than ever.
What we have also verified independently and noticed multiple times, that the offline prices at Vijay Sales are often less than the ones found online. How is that made possible?
Well, there’s no such concrete reason behind this. What happens is that sometimes online platforms sell below cost where we can’t do anything. But most of the time, we are able to match the pricing. More than the pricing aspect, we now have had a relationship with the customers for so many years which has helped us build trust amongst the customers.
In the case of Home appliances, a customer prefers to experience the product first before buying as he/she will most likely be buying it for the long term. So what have Vijay Sales been doing to enhance the experience of the customer when they arrive at a store to experience the product?
Online shopping does make for an advantage for the consumers as it’s time-saving. But what we provide better service than ecom platforms. We help customers understand a product better and if a customer faces any issue, they can directly call the person they first dealt with when they came to buy the product.
We have also started taking bookings for products via video calls. During the pandemic period, a customer prefers to buy from his/her own house. So we inform them that our salesman can contact them via video call and will demo the product features and specifications to them. This makes it easier for the consumer to make an informed purchase.
One thing that matters the most to a customer is after-sales service. And we have noticed that there are two types of warranties being offered these days. These include a warranty by the manufacturer and by the retailer as well. So is Vijay Sales doing something about the same?
What we have practised since the beginning is solving our customer’s problem at the earliest. We do not provide any warranty from our side, however, we have started an extended warranty program. Under this, we provide a warranty to the consumers after the warranty from the brand has ended.
Apart from that, customers can visit the stores and register their complaints from where they bought the product during the warranty period. After that, it’s our responsibility to get in touch with the brand and get the issue resolved for the customer. For laptops and mobile phones, we cannot extend this service because doorstep service is not available for these products.
But for home appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, ACs, microwaves, etc, we take the responsibility to connect with the brand and solve the customer’s issue. There’s an entire team that has been allocated towards this service.
Vijay Sales recently also stepped into the online market with its own store. What is something which you are doing differently than other e-commerce players in the market?
I wouldn’t say we are doing something extraordinary and in fact, others are ahead of us in this space. But this has brought even more customer satisfaction for our consumers. The store which they prefer to buy products from in the offline market is now also focusing on online sales which is great for them.
We are still learning in the respective space and there’s still a lot to work upon. We will ensure the best possible service for the consumers.
There are a lot of exchange offers on various products available at Vijay Sales. So have you done a tie-up with a third party service or it is being done independently?
The exchange offer is being done independently but we have a tie-up with a company that buys the old products from us. We are trying to partner with more companies who dispose off these products in an environmentally friendly way.
Electronic brands who sell their products online majorly are building experience centres where they showcase their products to the customers. Do you think instead of opening up its own centres, a brand can partner with multi-brand outlets such as Vijay Sales for showcasing its products?
For now, we don’t have such intentions as businesses are evolving quickly and are very dynamic in nature. We are not ruling out the possibility of such a partnership taking place, but not as of yet.
There’s a clear set of brands who opt for offline sales and those who go with online sales. Do you think a new creation might be in progress where both the set of brands can collaborate and bring up something new?
Again, there’s a possibility but I don’t see such a partnership bearing sweet fruit. The scale at which both offline and online retailers operate vastly different and that is a major problem to solve.
Mobile Retailers Association of India claimed that online retailers get preferential treatment in comparison to offline retailers, especially in the case of mobiles. Do you feel the same?
This is applicable universally as brands often launch exclusive products or new models online only. So neither us or any other offline retailer gets access to those. They do launch some of the exclusive models offline as well so it has become more of a routine.
What can consumers expect from Vijay Sales during the upcoming season?
As the pandemic is still ongoing, we’ll be lying a bit low but we do promise to bring new services to the customers in the future. We are trying to combine the convenience of online shopping with the experience of offline shopping. You’ll see many changes in the next 1 year.