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Home Electronics confirmed for DISTREE Middle East

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 19 April 2017

Home Electronics from Bahrain will join consumer tech retailers and e-tailers from across the wider Middle East region at this year’s DISTREE Middle East channel event, which takes place in Dubai from May 8-10th 2017. Channel EMEA caught up with Sumith Thekkayil, category manager digital and IT at Home Electronics, to learn more about the retailer’s strategic objectives and to get the inside track on the highly competitive consumer tech market in Bahrain.

Thekkayil said: “Attending DISTREE Middle East is an opportunity for us to develop relationships with new vendors and brands, learn more about the current market situation and discuss how to tackle the challenging market scenario.”

With hundreds of retailer and e-tailer executives from across the region attending DISTREE Middle East, the event has become a ‘must attend’ event for vendors and distributors using the consumer tech channel as a route-to-market. The breadth and depth of the delegate base provides deep insight on market trends down to a national or category level.

Thekkayil continued: “Smartphones and mobiles are the big trend with a strong growth rate. There are so many brands in this category meaning that competition for market share is intense, which can help retailers like us to maintain our sales momentum by partnering with a strong player.”

Home Electronics is always keen to identify brands with creative ideas and innovative products that can leverage the retailer’s physical store space in Bahrain to maximise sellout. The consumer tech market in Bahrain remains one of the most competitive national markets for retailers to operate in.

Thekkayil explained: “Bahrain is well known in the Middle East for price wars among retailers. Throughout the year other retailers can break the RRP set by vendors for products by hitting the margin - or sometimes selling the product under cost. This means competitors match the price to compensate for the price disparity, which hits the bottom line.”

With no obvious solution to the price wars that exist in Bahrain, Home Electronics looks to offset the pressure on profitability by working with vendors prepared to make a marketing investment in roadshows, kiosks or in-store branding.

Bahrain’s small geographic size has created a market where it is relatively quick and easy for consumers to visit a physical retail outlet. This has to some extent curtailed the growth and importance of in-country e-tail within Bahrain.

“We currently have no plans to do more in terms of e-tail,” explained Thekkayil. “A social media advert can do a better job in building custom than developing an e-tail site or an app.”

In 2017, Home Electronics is looking to focus more heavily on products with margins that will support the company’s profitability. Simultaneously, the company will also look to maintain sales of high value and low margin products that ensure overall sales remain solid. Thekkayil is pragmatic about the challenges facing the business.

Thekkayil added: “We see a decrease in the value of new technologically innovative products because they are quickly copied by third parties and other cheap brands. This can kill the pricing.”

“DISTREE is a platform for brands to launch products in the region,” he added. “We want to work with brands to stop price points being broken just to increase numbers without any margin. Brands need to run unified promotions to maintain product value and decrease price disparity.”

“I would like to see brands create a memorandum of understanding on pricing that retailers are required to strictly follow. This should respect individual promotions given by vendors to specific retailers at a given period,” he concluded.

The conference programme at this year’s DISTREE Middle East will include workshop sessions and panel discussions related to pricing policies, managing online and offline sales channels, and the impact of new e-commerce models on the consumer tech channel structure within the region.

DISTREE Middle East 2017

We are pleased to confirm that Channel EMEA is an official Media Partner for all DISTREE events in 2017, including DISTREE Middle East. DISTREE Middle East 2017, which takes place from May 8th to 10th in Dubai, gathers together hundreds of senior executives from e-tailers, retailers, online marketplaces, distributors and vendors of consumer tech products. Thousands of pre-scheduled meetings take place between delegates during the event, accelerating consumer tech channel growth and development throughout the Middle East. This year’s event will also include a delegation of leading consumer tech retailers from Africa.

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