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ePro eyes Middle East retail exposure

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 7 April 2008

Peripherals and accessories vendor ePro has set its sights on further growth in the fast-growing Middle East markets. ePro believes that building strong relationships with the crème-de-la-crème of the region’s power retail community will provide the platform that allows the company to meet its Middle East ambitions.

“We already have the cream of retail partners in Middle East markets,” explained M.C Sathyanath, retail business development manager at ePro. “Our major aim for 2008, apart from having new power retail accounts, is to enhance our product range among our existing accounts by working on giving a value added service and excellent value for money for the end-user.”

ePro, which has Middle East operations based in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, is one of a number of accessories and peripherals vendors operating in the region. Characterised by vast product portfolios, aggressive pricing points and a retail-focused channel, competition between these vendors can be intense – but the current market growth means that all are reporting strong growth rates.

“ePro has a wide range of products - including many products specially evolved for the retail sector,” continued Sathyanath. The company’s product portfolio ranges from digital products such as USB flash disks and digital media players through to components such as motherboards and VGA cards.

“For the past two to three years, we have been witnessing a shift of customers from traditional IT outlets to large IT-electronics showrooms. This has been fuelled by the massive growth of IT-electronics retail showrooms across the MENA region during the past few years,” explained Sathyanath.

“This growth will continue unabated in 2008 as well with many new showrooms opened this year. Since ePro is already a major brand in the retail scenario, we foresee a great surge in demand for our products through these power retailers in the coming years,” he continued.

ePro has a clear channel strategy for 2008 centred on the introduction of even more new and innovative products, the exploration of new markets and building links with even more power retailers across the region.

“Our major aim for 2008, apart from developing new power retail accounts, is to enhance our product range among our existing accounts by working on giving a value-added service and excellent value for money for the end-user,” explained Sathyanath.

Mutual trust

ePro believes that it has a compelling proposition for retailers in the Middle East market and prides itself on building a long-term relationship with its partners that benefits both parties involved. “As in any partnership mutual trust and confidence is vital to succeed and we always strive to maintain these,” said Sathyanath.

“We also support our retail partners with handsome trade margins and excellent marketing support. We have implemented many customised marketing promotions after meticulous planning, in coordination with our retail partners. We provide a prompt RMA support, which we believe is very vital for succeeding in this highly competitive market,” continued Sathyanath.

ePro also puts significant effort into its pricing policy, working hard to ensure a level playing field for all the company’s retail partners. The company is also keen to encourage retailers to look at the potential for offering innovative in-store value added services that can attract more walk-ins and boost overall store traffic. Sathyanath identifies three value-add concepts that retailers could explore:

1. Free check up and technical advice on a specific day for hot selling products such as notebooks, mobile phones and MP3 players by technical staff from the relevant vendors. This should be promoted as an avenue for customers to meet the technical support team from a major brand every week and interact directly with them

2. Offering a single window facility for repair, upgrade or replacement of different models of notebook computers, mobile phones, MP3 players and other products either sold by the retailer in question or by other retailers.

3. Retailers can offer a stage used exclusively for product launches, road shows and promotions every weekend. Interested vendors can lease out this space. This, apart from bringing in additional revenue to the retailers, also brings in more walk-ins.

In the fast-paced Middle East retail market, ePro reckons that it has what it takes to drive growth through the retail channel. With the product, price and promotion policies all in place, Sathyanath is keen to continue ePro’s Middle East retail success story in the years to come.

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