With every passing day, we are witnessing more and more players joining the bandwagon of online sales. This leads us to a very pertinent question of why online sales are gradually becoming the most preferred business model? Atul Dumbre, director of Macfos Private Limited (Robu.in), in an interaction with Baishakhi Dutta of the Electronicsforu.com Network shares how online sales are becoming profitable for businesses. Excerpt follows…
Q) What are the latest technical upgrade in IoT kits in terms of hardware and software?
IoT kits nowadays are becoming more powerful due to the increase in capacity of the onboard processor. More and more sensors are being added on board to gather information at the source. There are a lot of devices coming to market with software dedicated to them. Hence, now people can use a combination of hardware and software in one single package to get desired results. This plug and play type ecosystem for IoT is making life easier for end customers.
Q) What kind of industrial products do you offer?
Basically, we are an online retail store for Robotics. We offer microcontroller boards like Raspberry Pi and Arduino. We also offer a variety of sensors like lidars, encoders, ultrasonic, DC motors and motor controllers, lithium batteries and chargers, basic tools and cables.
Q) What is the difference between players importing components and buying from you?
We are providing all components required for a system, that too as ready-to-ship stock and without any minimum order quantity. This saves valuable time and efforts of our customers. They don’t have to run around for small things or fight with extended delivery periods.
Q) How do you offer economic benefits to your customers through your products?
We do so with a combination of affordable prices, good quality material and quick delivery. Everyone claims to be cheap. We claim to be affordable since we provide our customers with affordable prices for good quality material. Time is very important and so we ship components on the same day after placing the order and get it delivered pan India in three days. It helps the customers save a lot of money.
Q) Do you have tie-ups with businesses for bulk orders?
Yes. Apart from our online sales, we do have a dedicated offline sales team which supports customers not only for bulk discounts but also help them in selecting the right solution based on their need.
People say you can’t beat Chinese people in cost. I say we can beat them is smartness. Raspberry Pi and Arduino are two big examples of this.
Q) How has your online platform benefited your business?
Our online platform robu.in has played the role of an anchor to establish us in the Indian market. It provides a brand identity for us and ease of order for customers. It has also helped us widen our reach in the Indian market very quickly.
Q) How do you ensure consistent access to your customers?
We are fortunate enough to have both online and offline teams. The task of the offline team involves finding customers, visiting them or calling them and so on. On the other hand, the online team takes the digital way of doing the same through Google and various social media platforms. We also run mailers and SMS to our customers to keep up with them.
Q) What methods of quality control do you adopt to verify the authenticity of a product you are selling?
Authenticity is critical, especially today when there are a lot of copied products in the market. The only way to ensure authenticity is by having a trustworthy supply chain.
There are also quality checks for all the batches that we receive. Also, we take our customer feedback very seriously and do not hesitate to remove batches all together from our inventory if needed.
Q) Do you have your own products and production unit? If yes, give some insights
We are designing and producing our own series of boards under the “Smartelex Brand”. Currently, we have 32 boards under the motor driver, GSM/GPS/GPRS shields and IoT solutions. We intend to develop solutions for customers that are not available off-the-shelf anywhere. This gives us total control and capability to change the design for our customers based on their requirement.
Q) Do you think traditional businesses will stay relevant in the online era unless they have a digital presence too?
I think all that matters is how customers are behaving. Are customers searching online for their needs today? Are they buying online? We all know it’s a ‘YES’ to both these questions.
Well, sooner or later, all businesses will have to adopt online sales to survive in the market. It will take some time for traditional businesses to go through this transition, so they should start as early as possible. I often talk to people who are running traditional businesses and they are afraid to adopt online sales. There is nothing to be afraid. One can start taking small steps like getting your basic website build and start marketing online. Slowly and steadily when the results will be seen, more and more offline players will start coming into the game.
Q) Which are your highest selling product categories and brands?
It varies from time to time. Right now I will say Smartelex products, Raspberry Pi boards and Lithium batteries are the top three products which are in demand.
Q) Do you think there is a dearth of Made in India electronics kit in the market? How to increase it?
Lack of Made in India electronics kit is definitely an issue. We can increase Made in India kits by having innovative products which stand above the current market competition. Next, marketing those kits in depth and width in a pan India basis. People say you can’t beat Chinese people in cost. I say we can beat them is smartness. Raspberry Pi and Arduino are two big examples of this.
Q) How do you see IoT influencing the architecture of electronic kits?
IoT already has influenced it. It has become almost mandatory to have the option of Wi-Fi connectivity to any standard kit so that it can be used in IoT projects. Going forward, in future it will become a standard in all electronic kits.