BMR: Tell us about your business and working experience with brands?
This is our family business which we have started in 1975 with a timber store. In the year 1998, I entered the business of plywood & panel products with my venture titled M/s. Rajan Saw Mills and started selling Yamuna Nagar based plywood. Earlier, plywood panel business was very good, we used to get the good margin but nowadays it has become more competitive. The numbers of shops have increased in the city and market is dominated by local carpenters.
Sale of branded plywood is very limited in the city, perhaps not more than 15%. I am the authorised dealer of Action Tesa HDHMR board for Sonipat region and have been associated with the brand since am last three years.
I would say working with brands always adds value to your retail business, you got recognized as quality materials supplier in the city and you also get associated with quality customers, be it architects or builders. Brands will take care of product promotions and after sales services part and they also organized training sessions for carpenters, dealers and, architect to make them aware with the product usage and functionality.
BMR: How much COVID-19 Impact on your business?
After lockdown we started from middle of the month May. Frankly speaking Corona has not affected that much to tier-3 cities, we were back with our full-fledged business till June end. Sonipat, is the part of NCR and it is a complete retail based market approximately 90% of business comes from retails only, city has witnessed tremendous growth in past few years, many commercial and residential projects are coming with NH-1.
We have seen some positive effect of COVID-19 with our business like wise every customer is in the market is quite serious and with the intention of buying something, he leaves the house. So the conversion rate has increased in the last few months, cash work has also increased, dealers have stopped giving materials on credit.
BMR: How companies can increase their marketing strategies and services?
We are in the age of fast communication, where we are just a click away to spread any message or information to our customers, I personally believe companies should more focus on customer awareness programme to educate them about the materials and their uses. Similarly, I am selling Action Tesa HDHMR board since last three years. It this is a good alternative of plywood with various technical features, but very few people know about this product and we need to tell the customers about it. Companies should appoint well skilled staff at dealer shops, which can attend customers and tell them about the product.
BMR: Retail experience is completely changing; wholesalers are also coming with their showrooms. Do you see competition in future?
Indeed, we will see strong competition in future with retail, small counter who don't have their own shop will be out from market as they might not be able to compete with rates and services as compared to big and organized counters. One stop solution with quick service is the future of building products & materials industry.
BMR: Which product do you believe will grow in future or we will see other alternate products in market?
Undoubtedly, plywood will remain the market's preferred choice for next couple of years. New age products like WPC, PVC, MDF board, Fibre Cement boards and, HDHMR boards might be doing very well in metro cities. However, I personally believe presence of these products with non-metro towns specially tier-2 or tier-3 are negligible. Companies are yet to do lot of work to educate and aware customers specially local carpenters to make them accustomed with these products. These products along with PVC Laminates, Veneers, ACP and HPL have bright future with small towns. Consumers are ready to pay for quality materials if they understand the products value. The internet is helping them and the consumers are browsing to source the information about product before buying anything for their dream home.
BMR: What do you suggest to people who are planning to enter into the business of building products & materials?
Business of products & materials is getting very competitive, margins are very low in this industry. If someone wants to start with retail, I would suggest selection of location is very important, secondly, he should have patience along with good product knowledge. Moreover, if he is tech savvy that will add more value to his retails business. In the business of product retailing, the better you take care of your customer, the more you will grow.
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