In a bid to boost its cus-tomer-base Lexmark Inter-national (India) has
decided to get into retail. Initially, this activity will be limited to 10
outlets in Mumbai. Based on the response, it will be rolled out to other metros
and A-class cities. The company is investing close to Rs 35,000 in setting up
each of these counters.
The move has come after bringing business to a level of desired efficiency,
informed Pradeep Kamath, GM, Lexmark International-India. "Now, Lexmark is
getting involved in direct activities that increase the company's customer
interaction," he said, adding that the year 2005 is a turning point for
Lexmark has identified 10 locations to set up its counters. While some of
these are the traditional IT-channel partner outlets, lifestyle stores and malls
are also on the agenda.
Kamath stated that the customer mindset in changing even though IT retailing
has not come of age. He cited this as the driver behind Lexmark's decision to
exhibit its offering in consumer electronics outlets as well. "Products
like photo printers are gaining acceptance, which is why we feel that our
retailing endeavor will succeed," he said.
Initially, Lexmark will work with those retail outlets, which will give its
floor space free. The company is leveraging on its Lexmark Express Door-to-Door
Warranty to get retailers stock its products. "We are taking away the
headache of warranty support from our partners, while giving them a reason for
more footfalls, which can translate into sales of other peripheral items as
well," said Kamath.
The company has also sig-ned-up with an HR outfit that will provide people to
demo-nstrate these products to customers. "The store staff may not have the
skillset to hardsell the brand," elabora-ted Kamath. Recently, Lex-mark
rolled out a channel program called Don't Need Approval (DNA) for its part-ners.
It has around 140 Diam-ond partners and 700 Prem-ium partners with 300 active
members in the latter. Under the program, Diamond part-ners can design a
promotional scheme for the Premium partners, without the approval of the vendor.
This is a slab-based scheme, where based on the targets met by partner he can
claim expenses of the promotional activity.