|Bosch is pushing online sales|
Expect more and more hobbyist hand and power tools to be available online in the near future as companies begin pushing online sales. As a first, the Indian subsidiary of the German toolmaker Bosch has tied up with the popular Indian online retailer Flipkart to market some of its products online.
Currently, Bosch is only offering a small subset of its product range on Flipkart.com. The emphasis is on DIY or hobby tools made by three Bosch companies: Bosch Power Tools, Dremel and Skil.
My hope is that Bosch will ultimately offer its industry tools and accessories online as well, though this could take some time.
Bosch has also setting up deals with other major online sellers such as infibeam.com and amazon.in apart from Flipkart.
The good news is that Bosch has got extremely encouraging response from online buyers. “The response has been awesome”, said Pranab Talukdar, Bosch Power Tools in charge of online sales. “We sold over one rupees crore worth of tools in the initial offering and clearly there is a market out there.”
By marketing its tools directly on Internet retail sites, Bosch is able to offer significant discounts on its products. At this time, the discount is about 20 per cent. This is less than the 30 to 35 per cent many dealers offer on some top selling items. But even 20 per cent is terrific for thousands of customers who do not have access to dealers and have been paying MRP values on their purchases.
This trend once started can only intensify. As more and more online retailers get into the game, discounts will hopefully increase, thereby helping Indian consumers.
Already online dealers such as the popular tool reseller machpowertools.com appear to have lowered their rates to match or better those offered by Bosch on Flipkart.
A major problem online sellers face in India is poor awareness of hobbyist tools and lack of a DIY culture.
“We face a problem in properly categorising our tools on Indian online retail sites because they do not have a section specifically devoted to tools”, explains Bosch’s Talukdar. In contrast, Western online retailers like amazon.com have dedicated sections on “Tools & Home Improvement” to cater to the vast DIY and hobbyist sector.
Bosch is the first toolmaker in India to push the concept of DIY and home improvement in India. It has started a showroom aimed at this segment in Bangalore and plans to put up more such centres in other cities.
|Bosch stall at the IITF Delhi|
That there is ample interest in DIY and home improvement in India was demonstrated at the recent India International Trade Fair (IITF) held in New Delhi in late November where Bosch had put up a stall.
Crowds thronged to the “Home, Hobby and Garden” stall Bosch had put up. Visitors were not only able to see tools and accessories available but were also try out some of them.
|Crowd at Bosch Stall|
With tradespeople like plumbers and carpenters getting difficult to get hold of or trust, more and more urban Indians are prepared to do a bit of house improvement themselves. Among them some are destined to take up woodworking and other hobbies.
One can only hope that tool companies in India will quickly take Bosch’s lead and push for online expansion. A vibrant online market would be a heaven sent for the Indian hobbyist.
11 December 2013