Mr.Murali President, VIJITA

Mr.Murali President, VIJITA

1) How important is an association and in what way it can benefit of channel community?
A)An association is an organization where people join voluntarily with a common cause or purpose and having formal structure. It is a best platform to improve social and business relations among our community. Now a day’s an association is a biggest tool to solve all business and service problems.

2) Is your association a state or district or city association? What is the structure of the association and how does it work like?
A)
Our association is a district association with strength of 120 members. Ours is a professional association with a proper structure which includes President, Vice president, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Treasurer and two EC Members. Our office bearers will have two years time to work for betterment of the association. Our key ideas are understanding, engagement and problem solving.

3) What are the recent activities your association has taken for the channel community (business or entertainment or training or insurance or other)?
A)
Once in a year we are doing trade fare and sports activity. In winter season we play cricket for 2 months regularly. This year planning is to entertain our members with shuttle, chess and some other indoor games. Presently we are running insurance policies programs for all our members and their families.

4) Where are the big opportunities for channel business today? and how can partners take benefit of these opportunities?
A)
Tabs and mobiles are the present attraction. All of our channel community should concentrate more on LFD, Surveillance, SMB, Printing, Networking and Security Solutions for better margins. Channel community can find big opportunities in pharma, retail, networking services, security & SMB divisions. 

5) Online websites such as Flip kart or eBay are eroding channel business, what is your stand on this issue and how should channel arise to face this challenge?
A)
The entire consumer IT Business in India is around Rs.35000 crores of which only 6% is contributed by e-tail today. For example in US retail market sales from online shopping have grown 300%, since the beginning of 2004. But still accounts only for 6% of sales in retail sales. A recent research report shows that a nearly identical number of teenagers shop online as prefer shopping at brick and mortar stores.
         
Now online retailers are doing business only because of price factor. In India more than 90% IT Products are sold by offline and customers are addressed predominately by channels.In our India market IT savvy customers would account for less than 10%. The rest would need support installation and other services. They will look at online pricing and will come to offline reseller community. A smarter reseller can win the billing at a premium by offering services.
           
Offline partners can create value by building a unique shopping experience which combines advice services and merchandise and can start experimenting by listing them selves  on online market places.

6) Many of the big vendors are quite easily available on the online sales. What are your demands from the vendor community on this issue?
A)
I feel all vendors know that online retail is still very small compared to brick and mortar Sales. Definitely e-tailors won’t succeed for long by providing deep discounts. Vendor should penalize e-tailors offering discounts which affect MOP. Vendors should find best solution to balance both offline and online business practices and should help partners to set up online portals.

7) How can this issue of online trading be tackled in best possible manner?
A)
Already we have seen customers walking into our stores, seeing the product, then going online and purchasing them at a lower price, on other hand we are also seeing where   customers do their research by visiting online and find out the best price, then ask our dealer community to match the price. So we can understand that the customer is taking the best of both worlds – the discounted price of the online retailer and the physical convenience of the local retailer.  
        
Now biggest problem starts when online retailers plan to open offline stores. Here my advice is our channel community should enter online business before e-tailors start offline  stores. Today’s consumers live multi-dimensional, multi-platforms lives and their buying  behavior reflect that same complex dynamic. So i am requesting our community to become  as multi dimensional as early as possible. This is the best way to protect ourselves.
 
8) In this kind of scenario, what is the best mantra to succeed for channel partners?
A)
UNITY is the best Mantra. Bringing all our IT dealers throughout India wide  to one platform and will launch a common online store and no of offline chain stores throughout India from bigger cities to small towns as LFR stores on one brand name. Then it is very easy to create hybrid online- offline formats. All associations should take initiative to fulfill this method, then it will become easy to compete with both online retailers and LFRs.