Being a Lenovo Exclusive Store, ACE Infocom aspires to expand its retail footprints and open more retail stores in different parts of Mumbai to make 'Ace Infocom' a significant and desirable fair-priced store. In a tête-à-tête with VARINDIA, Vishal Jain, Owner, ACE Infocom has shared the business model, near future growth opportunities, customer trends etc.
Brief about the company.
Hailing from Jaipur, I started my professional career in Mumbai with my small start-up by selling PC peripherals and consumables to individuals and companies while doing my post-graduation. Through this endeavour, I interacted with people and saw good margins in supplying PC spare parts and assembled computers.
In December 2004 I opened my small retail store, Ace Infocom, by partnering with HCL Computers in Mumbai. Over a period of time, it has evolved into a big-time retailer– having 7 stores in the city. Today, we are one of the most preferred partners with 5 Lenovo Exclusive Stores and 2 Dell Exclusive Stores.
Explaining the business model, what are the growth opportunities seen in the near future?
Ace Infocom is a B2C enterprise. We are majorly focused on end customers' requirements and fulfil them to ensure a great customer experience. Through our tight-knit community and people skills, we enhance our connection with the customers through retail as well as corporate tie-ups.
As for our growth trajectory, we intend to expand our retail footprints and open more retail stores in different parts of Mumbai to make 'Ace Infocom' a significant and desirable fair-priced store.
Depending on the location of our store, we plan to market the best-selling and top-rated products to customers. Following our customers-first strategy, we will continue to first understand our user's requirements. Then, our focus would be to guide them on their ability to use the same product for at least another four to five years without any upgrades. Along with the sales, our after-sales support will also be a crucial factor. We will provide technical in-house support and earn our customers' confidence along with their trust.
How has the business grown and what has been Lenovo’s contribution to the business growth?
A few years back, Ace Infocom was a small retail partner selling various branded systems of leading IT companies. In 2007 we partnered with Lenovo to open the Lenovo Express Store which eventually was transformed into a Lenovo Exclusive Store. Gradually we expanded our stores in various locations in Mumbai.
Lenovo has been a strong support to our business growth. Along with an impressive lineup of advanced models, Lenovo’s after-sale support and systems in place for smooth retail execution have helped us increase our sales to 20 folds. It also focuses on attracting customers by add-on accessories like Bluetooth silent mouse, Lenovo clock, trendy backpacks, and gaming headphones. Today, Lenovo contributes 70% of our total revenue for Ace Infocom. These figures speak for themselves. The brand is preferred by customers for its devices that cater to a wide spectrum of requirements ranging from the slimmest and lightest devices to convertible and powerful machines. Such devices have attracted customers to our store and bolstered our revenue.
What is the most preferred brand/product by the customers? Have you seen any customer trends in the last few months?
With the influx of multiple devices with a myriad of options and features available to customers, it would be difficult to choose just one brand/ product that is most preferred. However, we are seeing an evident inclination towards gaming products.
In recent times, we have seen customers more inclined toward 16 inches screen machines with higher resolutions in slim thin laptops as well as some looking for heavy graphics, 16 inches screens. There is also a demand for touch-based screens in both 14 inches and 15 inches.
I personally think Lenovo is one of the brands to have established itself as quite versatile with its Yoga, Legion and Thinkpad launches. Their product durability and company support systems at various levels along with marketing policies have entrusted a deep faith and loyalty to the brand. Due to its commitment to an enhanced user experience, we see customers gravitating towards Lenovo, helping it emerge at the top of tech brands to lead the sales.
How have you tackled challenges post the COVID-19 pandemic? What have you done differently during this time?
Mumbai had the highest number of covid cases and casualties during the pandemic in India. This obviously instilled fear among the masses to leave their houses and roam around. Visiting stores and malls was a far-off idea. Connecting with customers was one of the most challenging issues we faced during the pandemic.
To overcome this hindrance, we started making online videos to showcase and demonstrate our products. Later on, we even arranged for our sales staff to give customers a demo at their residences, at their convenience and preference. Lenovo was the first in the industry to have the Lead Management System in place and hence working on leads rather than walk-ins for our stores was a smooth transition during this phase.
Throughout the pandemic, we were cautious and diligent to keep our surroundings asepsis, clean, and disinfected at all times. Thus, our stores are cleaned along with our demo machines twice a day. This is still very much a part of our routine.
What are the trends to look out for in the consumer technology segment?
The market today needs the fastest and latest generation machines with higher capacity rams, SSDs with 16 inches QHD and UHD screens – high-performance machines without compromising on style. As I mentioned earlier, 16 inches screens are the next big thing to captivate users.
Additionally, Artificial Intelligence-based web cameras and high-speed wifi cards are a few of the upcoming requirements. With gaming picking up, gamers need machines equipped with higher hertz 17 inches UHD Screens with 500 units in new looks and features for better gaming purposes. The shift to premium machines is also extremely evident with the advancements in technology.
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