Bilkom is one of the leading Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) distributors of our country. The company directly and indirectly distributes the products of leading global to more than 4,000 different points in Turkey, and continues its rapid growth. We talked about the company, their future targets and the sector with Bilkom Sales Director Onur Başkan.
How did the pandemic reflect on your business? How much growth did you generate in 2021?
At Bilkom, we have made good use of the change and transformation process, which still continues at full speed, created by the pandemic in our lives. Our business has continued to grow thanks to the great dedication of our employees, the valuable companionship of our business partners and the great interest of our customers. We have carried on our growth journey while looking from our customers’ perspective, improving our business skills, and making sure to establish an authentic and transparent communication with all our stakeholders, especially our employees. We have outperformed the sector for the last 5 years. With our focus on sustainable profitable growth, our growth performance was above the sector in 2021. Bilkom ‘s revenue in TRY has increased by 33 percent on average in the last 3 years, reaching to TRY 5.4 billion (US$ 627 million).
During the pandemic, there was an incredible demand for some products in the Turkish market as well as in the world. This was mainly a result of distance education, telecommuting, increased data usage, trend for healthy living products, and the desire to make the home and life more comfortable. There was a major growth in the personal computer, tablet and wearable technology categories. We have also achieved significant growth in these product groups and increased our market share. In addition, we have recorded major growth in the TV category with TCL. In 2021, we generated 5 times growth in comparison to 2020. Of course, our business partners and strong sales channel have made notable contribution in our success. We have made our products available to consumers in Turkey’s 81 provinces and online platforms thanks to our strong business partners.
What are your goals for 2022 and beyond? Please tell us briefly about the Bilkom of 2022 in line with your value-added and focused distributorship approach. Which products are in your distribution portfolio?
Our customer portfolio includes global brands such as Apple, Huawei, TCL, DJI, Fitbit (Google), Alcatel, Logitech and Hypergear, which shape the digital and mobile transformation in the world. As a ‘value-added and focused distributor’, we provide 360-degree brand management, business development, channel program development and consumer experience management as well as customer-focused services for these brands.
We operate with ‘Bilkom Plus’ approach to add value to all our stakeholders including our shareholders, our customers, our employees, our sales channels and consumers. We stand behind every product we supply as per the ‘ Bilkom Assurance’.
In 2022, we are working on collaborations with new brands and channel cooperations in order to develop our digital and mobile life-oriented product portfolio with strong brands on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Communication Technologies (ICT). The future innovation focuses of Bilkom include regional expansion, domestic production, online channels, omni-channel distribution and service sales. We will also continue our investments in the international award-winning indoor marketplace ‘Lonca Market’, which is launched as one of its online innovation projects. As part of the domestic production focus, we will evaluate television and smart phone production investments and new production opportunities as manufacturer-distributor. While we intend to increase our market share and sales with the new investments and cooperations, we will reinforce our service quality and our consultant-partner approach. We will continue our journey as a brand that the consumers are introduced to and feel the “Bilkom Assurance” closer, while responding to the needs and demands of consumers in sales and after sales. We will continue to develop and implement innovative solutions in our business processes and services.
What are the differences between Bilkom and the competition?
Our major distinguishing feature in the sector is our main business philosophy, which we define as Bilkom Plus, through which we intend to create ‘added value’ to everyone we touch. Accordingly, we act in the capacity of ‘Consultant Partner’ for our business partners. We do not regard ourselves as a distributor that only distributes products, we offer customer-oriented services for mutual benefits.
For example, while we prepare the market for brands with no organization in Turkey and no representation in our country until now, we also contribute to their business growth by providing 360-degree brand management services. As an honest and experienced business partner for sales channels, we focus on sustainable and long-lasting collaborations.
Were you able to transfer the consumer experience to online?
Prior to the pandemic, our main business was generated at the stores. With the pandemic, as consumers turned to online shopping, we developed projects to keep up with this trend. For example, in this period, we launched the ‘Online Promoter’ application in order to maintain the physical distance that the consumer gave priority to. This is a setup that connects customers to the sales consultant for guidance on products and prices via the QR code we place next to our products displayed in retail stores, thus providing first-hand direct information and guidance. This way, we have made significant progress in transforming human contact from offline to online. We have continued our practices that would not lose the focus on humans. From now on, we will continue to support both Bilkom Online, our B2B portal, and all online channels that serve the end user.
What is your target and position in the electronic retail industry?
In our consumer and commercial channels, we bring tech enthusiasts together with over 2 million products annually at over 4,000 different sales points in 81 provinces across Turkey. We deliver our products & services to both consumers and business partners.
With our 38 years of experience, we are the #1 distributor of smartphones, wearable accessories and tablets in the electronics retail industry. According to the data of independent research companies, as of the end of 2021, 1 out of every 5 smartphones and tablets sold in electronic retail stores and 1 out of every 4 smartwatches across Turkey are purchased from Bilkom. This information and similar data underline the leadership of our company in the electronics retail industry. We intend to strengthen and maintain this position.