The last two months have not been easy for all of us. In some way or the other all of us are fighting the Coronavirus pandemic; either by being the frontline warriors or by simply adhering to the lockdown rules and norms. Whatever the case may be, we’re amidst a crisis that certainly has been the worst in the history of mankind.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown, keeping a note of some of the new buzz words such as ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’ and the latest one; ‘atmanirbhar’.
Medianews4u brings to you, yet another perspective, this time not only from a particular sector but from various sectors, and especially from the ones that were terribly hit by Covid-19.
Well Covid-19 is not over yet, but it’s definitely the start of good. It’s time for Back to Business…
In the first story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Neeraj Bahl, MD & CEO, BSH Home appliances popularly known as Bosch.
Read on for some interesting insights on the consumer durable industry and more…
How are you coping-up with the impact of Covid-19 on the plethora of brands you are responsible for under BSH Electronics?
The Covid-19 outbreak has bought tough times for the consumer durable industry. However, for us, sale season begins in the month of July and we are optimistic about the sale of our washing machines, dishwashers, mixer grinders, and other kitchen appliances. We have already been receiving pre-orders for these products during the lockdown.
However, from a refrigerator sale and manufacturing standpoint, we were expecting a healthy double-digit growth for the year however given the current situation we do not expect the same.
We have now resumed operations with our exclusive brand stores across 13 cities in India, namely Bangalore, Shimoga, Mangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kochi, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Erode, Hosur, Trichy, Karur, and Madurai. All Bosch products like mixer grinders, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and cooking appliances are being on display in the stores.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to the wide range of products under Bosch?
In light of the Covid-19 situation, we will definitely be focusing more on hygiene led products. However, we already have a few products keeping hygiene in mind which are in high demand due to Covid-19.
- Dishwashers– The Bosch Dishwashers uses water at 70 degree Celsius ensuring 99% germ-free utensils. Speedy dishwasher with pre-activated speed controls delivers clean results without compromising on the results.
- Dryers– Bosch dryers come with the AllergyPlus feature, specially developed for the needs of allergy sufferers. Bosch dryer offers to dry your laundry at 50^C which provides you with a germ-free laundry.
- Washing Machine-Bosch Washing Machine provides an Allergy plus program, that cleans your laundry at 45^C making it a germ-free laundry.
- Cold Press Juicer- Juices made in the Bosch cold press juicer are more nutritious, as significantly more vitamins and enzymes are extracted due to slower and gentler squeezing technology. Due to high speed juicing, conventional centrifugal juicers generate heat which reduces the nutrients and creates foam resulting in oxidation of the juice. The Bosch cold press juicer is your companion for building better immunity and health.
- Refrigerator– There is already a huge demand for bigger capacity refrigerators from the consumers. We have an exceptional range of extra-large fridge freezer combinations. These refrigerators are an ideal solution in terms of volume and size for everyone. The larger interior gives a perfect overview and maximum flexibility
While some parts of the country have become Covid-19 free, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are still in a lockdown situation. How are you planning to resume business across cities that are still in the Red?
We have recently resumed operations across 17 cities and slowly in the process of resuming production. We are gradually opening our factory with limited staff with a focus on activities to restart production, hygiene, sanitizing, security, housekeeping, canteen, medical center, etc.
Keeping the safety measures in mind, hand sanitizers have been made mandatory at the stores for customers and Bosch sales consultants for use at entry and exit in the store. All stores are following rigorous sanitization procedures before they become operational. In line with the social distancing guidelines, the stores are allowing customers on an appointment basis and ensuring that walk-in customers maintain a distance of 1.5 meters between them. We are also exploring digital routes for product demos and customer servicing keeping in mind social distancing.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown as bringing customers back to you would be difficult? How will you create demand for your products and brand recall?
In order to create demand for our products and brand recall, we will be offering attractive consumer offers, low-cost EMI’s and cash backs. This will be backed by a marketing campaign further.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
We have introduced a new insurance policy inclusive of Covid-19 for our sales consultants. We have also provided sanitation necessities to all our employees. We have about 1000 sales consultants who are being paid full salaries along with sanitary facilities. Employees are being provided with regular communication on various updates on social distancing guidelines, do’s, and don’ts. Our HR teams are remotely onboarding all employees, providing the required information for seamless integration to the company in these extraordinary times. Protection for employees, our business, and the community is kept in focus and necessary activities are carried out to ensure health and safety.
What are some of the post-lockdown strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction?
Customers will naturally shift to e-commerce now keeping in mind safety and avoid going to markets physically. BSH will service the required e-commerce channels as per consumer need/wherever the customer is present. Keeping the safety measures in mind, hand sanitizers have been made mandatory at the stores for customers and Bosch sales consultants for use at entry and exit in the store. All stores are following rigorous sanitization procedures before they become operational.
Which are some of the product categories that have seen a surge in demand during the lockdown?
Since the nationwide lockdown, we have seen a surge in kitchen appliances/cooking appliances like mixer grinders, food processors, etc. We are actively driving the dishwasher category in India. We have already started receiving a lot of inquiries and booking for dishwashers. These orders will be fulfilled as and when the lockdown is lifted in respective regions. Moreover, dishwashers can be best friends to all the new chefs in town. A dishwasher maintains a high level of hygiene washing dishes and utensils both quickly and precisely without having to worry about washing up after your meals. The Bosch Dishwashers not only uses water at 70 degree Celsius ensuring 99% germ-free utensils but also offers dishwashers that use up to 85% less water than hand-washing.