Bilkom Grows With Strong Collaborations

Bilkom introduces the best brands and the best technologies to consumers with the vision of “Turkey’s Digital Life Coach”, and turns heads with its growth performance above the sector in the last three years.

Bilkom, one of Turkey’s leading Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) distributors operating under the roof of Koç Holding, shapes its marketing, sales, channel development, and after-sales support activities with its vision of “Turkey’s Digital Life Coach” while working to improve the quality of the consumers’ lives through technology.

With the world’s leading brands such as Apple, Huawei, TCL, Alcatel, Fitbit, DJI, Naztech, Hypergear, and Celly in its customer portfolio, Bilkom continues to rise with its growth performance above the sector in the last three years. The foundation of the consistent growth of Bilkom is based on working with a young and experienced team, knowing the consumers’ expectations, listening to their voices, and nurturing the genuine desire to bring the best brands and the latest technologies to Turkey.

We discussed the agenda of Bilkom with Fikret Ballıkaya, the General Manager of the company, the leading distributor of smartphones, wearable accessories, and tablets in the electronic retail sector.

How do you assess the current position Bilkom has attained in the electronics retail sector?

Bilkom’s main goal is to create value and offer it to our business partners and consumers. We go beyond just buying and selling like a typical distributor, and intend to offer our suppliers end-to-end customer-oriented services with brand management, business development, consumer experience, and after-sales services management. The main motivation of the strong brands in our portfolio to choose us is our mission declaration to be a ‘value-added and focused distributor’ rather than being a traditional purveyor.

As of today, our customer portfolio includes Apple, Huawei, TCL, Alcatel, Fitbit, DJI, Naztech, Hypergear, and Celly. These brands play a leading role in digital and mobile transformation in the world. Therefore, we offer the latest technology products of these prominent brands to the Turkish market with the ‘Bilkom Assurance’. We distribute our products to over 4,000 vendor sites in 81 provinces.

You have had a remarkable growth performance for the last 3 years. What are the factors supporting this achievement?

As a matter of fact, we have had a growth performance far above the sector for the last 5 years. In fact, we have been at the top of the “company with the best performance in the last 3 years” category in the Bilişim 500 ranking, which is closely followed by the IT industry. We continue to develop our digital and mobile life-oriented product portfolio with strong brands. We can enlarge our portfolio much more, but our fundamental principle is to provide the best service to our consumers. Therefore, we are very selective and try to bring the latest technologies and brands to Turkey. From the consumers’ perspective, the name Bilkom is already a guarantee in itself because we stand behind every product we supply under the ‘Bilkom Assurance’. We support ‘digitalization’ as a tool that will strengthen operational efficiency and innovative growth within the scope of the Digital Transformation Projects we have been conducting since 2016 with the motto “Turkey’s Digital Life Coach”.

How do new brand collaborations contribute to this success?

It is important for us to cooperate with companies that spearhead digital and mobile transformation in the world, invest in new technologies, and introduce such brands to consumers in our country. We have made two important launches this year. Namely, we have put on sale the innovative products of Fitbit, which is a leader in the world with its wearable technology products and caters to consumers in over 100 countries. In the last quarter of the year, we brought the high-tech televisions of TCL, the world’s second-largest television brand, to the Turkish market with accessible prices and distinction of domestic manufacturing. In the cooperation established with TCL, we will be present in a category as a manufacturer-distributor for the first time. For us, television is a new category and the manufacturer-distributor responsibility is a brand-new excitement.

Has pandemic negatively affected your growth plans?

Naturally, we were also impacted like everyone else. But, thanks to the technological investments we have made for many years and our young, flexible and agile company structure, we have completely switched to the remote working model since March and have quickly adapted to this environment. Even though we have experienced the harmful impact of the pandemic, we continue to grow and invest with confident steps.

Can you elaborate on your plans for the near future?

Our targets for 2021 and beyond are also shaped by our learning from the pandemic period. We address this under three headings, which are our employees, products, and channels. Specifically, concerning our employees, we plan to make our new governance model permanent by working remotely, and flexibly in the future. In this period, we see that people need to communicate more, masterfully manage their work remotely and also have easy access to training and technology beyond simple interest or curiosity. We will continue to design our product portfolio accordingly. Today, there is still a group of people who are worried about going to the stores for shopping. We will continue to increase our investments in online platforms where demand is increasing. We will support both Bilkom Online, our B2B portal, and all online channels that reach the end-user.

Fikret Ballıkaya – Fast Company Interview