We talked about the changes in the consumers’ habits and the trends in sales with Bilkom Sales Director Onur Başkan.
The pandemic period has entirely changed the technology industry. Technology retailing and sales have also had its share from development. We discussed the changes in the consumers’ habits and the trends in Sales with Bilkom Sales Director Onur Başkan.
On the technology side, distribution channels are also in the process of digitalization, where will retailing evolve in this process?
Today, thanks to many digital solutions and business applications, shopping and retailing are undergoing a major transformation. The speed, distribution, delivery, and setup constitute an essential part of the shopping experience. The consumers want to touch and test the product they intend to buy. However, the experience does not just consist of that. From the first step through the door to the end of the purchasing, they regard the process they go through as a total experience. Now, the experience brands promise has become a very important part of shopping, not just their products. Therefore, it is of essence for the retail business to prepare for the new period with the necessary steps.
Some innovative applications that were introduced to life during the pandemic period are no longer in use. On the other hand, both the sector and the consumer have embraced many applications. Among such applications, many innovations focusing on experience are developed and continued. A major component of this process is the technology and digital applications shaped by this technology. The technology and digitalization applications are observed in logistics, warehousing, stock management, shelfing and many more, not only in the front office division of the shopping process. This entire process where it basically transforms will be shaped on the maximum efficiency and maximum customer satisfaction axis .
At Bilkom, we believe it is important to be a part of this experience with some innovative solutions and pay attention to efficiency of our business partners. The omni-channel solutions or the projects such as Lonca Market and drop shipment which we have already launched or are developing, are among the initiatives we intensively focus on this field with our business partners, and we are also a part of the process with our solutions in this transformational period of shopping.
The purchasing habits of the consumer are changing. Will the stores of the future turn into experience centers?
Physical stores, of course, offer a variety of experiences and amenities. For this reason, physical retailing will continue to be a major channel for both the consumers and brands. It will always be important for the consumers to experience and feel the product, and to understand if it satisfies their needs.
It is also important for the brand to be able to face to face contact, talk and understand the consumer. Now, almost every brand is an ecosystem and offers interconnected devices. The products that are part of this ecosystem work in total harmony. For example, consumers who go to the store to see TCL TV also experiences the possibility to control the robot vacuum and air purifier via this TV. The consumer is introduced to and test other TCL products while checking out the TV. This is a new experience offering an advantage for both parties. In addition, the consumers will continue to want to benefit from the retailing experience in order to reach the product quickly. Yes, going back to the core of your question, retailing will entirely transform into a process of experience. At this point, it is very important to make a difference, to meet and where appropriate shape expectations of the consumer. As a result, each passing day, we will see new solutions and digital-based experiences in this field. Investments for the experience will continue to increase.
The price hikes has affected consumer electronics the most, how was the sales for 2021, what are the expectations for 2022?
The fluctuating structure in the economy, notably in exchange rates, of course affects consumer behavior. Consumers turn to price/performance products to meet their basic needs. During the pandemic period, technology and digital investments of both individuals and entities have increased. Accordingly, we saw price hikes in some categories in the last two years. We have observed growth in computer and tablet categories due to distance education and telecommuting; and record-breaking results after a long time in categories such as wearable technologies due to the interest in healthy living. There was also major demand for IoT devices. People’s interest in tablets has returned owing to the pandemic. The computer industry has enjoyed the peak of the last 10-year period.
At Bilkom, we have also achieved significant growth in our product groups and increased our market share. Here, our agile structure, which can produce new solutions and options in accordance with the changing dynamics, has contributed greatly. We have successfully managed this period with appropriate products and after-sales solutions depending on consumer trends, as well as services and practices that cater the efficiency and satisfy the needs of our business partners.
In the TV category, we have achieved a significant growth with the global giant TCL. The increase in the preference for large screen alternatives due to the time spent at home has had a positive impact on our TV sales. One out of every two TVs sold in the Turkish TV market is 50” and bigger. Also, 94 percent of TCL TV sales consists of products with 50” and bigger screen size.
As of the end of 2021, 1 out of every 5 smart phones, 1 out of 5 tablets in the tablet category, and 1 out of every 4 smart watches in the wearable technology category sold in electronic retail stores across Turkey were purchased from Bilkom . This reinforces our #1 position in the electronics retail industry.
We have shown a far above growth performance in comparison to the sector for the last 5 years. In 2022, we will carry on our journey as a brand that responds to the needs and demands of the consumer during and after the sale, while the consumers will get acquainted with and feel the “Bilkom Assurance” even closer. We intend to make that felt also in the regional geographies not only in our country. As a part of Bilkom’s sustainable growth, our efforts to expand abroad towards the countries of the region continue at full speed. Last year, we took the first steps of this initiative and achieved fruitful results. This year, our primary goals includes increasing the number of countries we export to and expanding the Bilkom’s geographical footprint.
What will Bilkom do in the future for product diversity? Do you have different product classifications in the pipeline?
At Bilkom, our mission is to enable the technology enthusiasts in Turkey to access the current technology. In addition, in order to develop our digital and mobile life-oriented product portfolio in Internet of Things (IoT) as well as Information and Communication (ICT) fields, we also work on new brand collaborations in line with our value-added and focused distributorship approach.
We intend to make the new smart technologies that communicate with each other and can be controlled from mobile platforms a part of home life. In this context, we are in the final stage of our collaboration with a new brand that facilitates human life in the field of smart home systems. With TCL, we are quite assertive in the television category in 2022 as well, and we intend to increase our market share and double our sales. We will develop our cooperation with TCL, which continues in an efficient and satisfying manner, with products in different categories such as air conditioners. We will continue to work on new projects that digitize the business processes and increase efficiency of our business partners, and add value to our business partners with service packages that crank the consumer experience up a notch. In this sense, our contribution to the transformation of retail will continue.
Do you expect a change in the installment structure?
We are aware that increasing prices are challenging the consumer. Inflation and rising prices due to exchange rate pressure have reduced the purchasing power of the consumer. We support all schemes that will financially help the consumer so that technology is more accessible and Turkish consumers can make cutting-edge technology a part of their lives.