Ramashish Ray, Founder and CEO, Intartic Engineering speaks about future of mobile accessories market in India

Ramashish Ray

Intartic is a young and vibrant enterprise that aims to provide best-in-class Mobile and IT accessories, product manufacturing, brand consultancy, GTM and Sales & distribution. It has partnered with and is the brand owner of Rock, Rock Space and iHave in India with a dedicated manufacturing and distribution setup. We have grown rapidly in the last few years, with robust presence in India, Singapore and China. We have a joint venture with our China team for manufacturing Rock and Rock Space.

We spoke to Ramashish Ray, Founder and CEO, Intartic Engineering Pvt Ltd about the key value proposition and business model of Intartic and how they plan to expand their product portfolio in the market.

Can you please give an overview of Intartic Engineering and what is the key value proposition and business model of your firm?

After spending more than 15 years in the Mobility and Telecom industry, I started the venture, Intartic Engineering, in early 2015 with the aim to bring latest technology in a customer-friendly way to the masses. Intartic Engineering is the licensed brand owner of the globally popular brands – Rock and Rock Space.

With a talented team of 50+ members, we specialise as a “Business Accelerator”, bringing products, new technologies, services and investments together to markets with focus on APAC, Greater China and MEA. Our sectoral focus is on Consumer Electronics and telecommunications. We have worked for global giants such as Nokia, Samsung, Capgemini and Philips.

cable

Currently, what are some of the biggest challenges in providing top-notch electronics accessories to the customers and how Intartic is playing a key role in this scenario?

The first and foremost challenge is that of Grey Imports. Almost 70% of the market is captured by the grey market where people don’t pay taxes. Both sellers and consumers face tough challenges due to counterfeit production of branded accessories. While the Government is making laudable efforts such as BIS etc., there still are many markets in India where everybody knows that products are being sold without bills. We need to clamp down on this aggressively, otherwise genuine sellers would not be able to survive the onslaught of counterfeit products. Also, it will gradually kill any production in India, as prices of grey market are cheaper due to non-payment of taxes.

The second challenge is that of Consumer Education. Often, consumers buy products from the street, but they don’t understand the quality differences between genuine and fake products, such as how long the battery will last. As a result, the industry gets a bad name due to use of fake products, sellers getting away with grey imports, not paying duties etc. Swift Government action is very important as ultimately, it’s the end consumer who suffers because of fake or sub-standard products.

The third challenge is our Offline Channel Structure. This means that even if we have a great product, most often there is lack of right experience to go with it. Therefore, it becomes confusing for people to understand the onslaught of new technologies. While the situation in the mobility space is better, there are hardly any chains in the accessories space that focus or invest in providing the right kind of experience.It’s actually is a Catch-22 situation – on one hand, because of grey imports and low consumer awareness the industry doesn’t get value out of it, so it doesn’t open any retail chains. On the otherhand, the consumer awareness remains low due to lack of availability of the right channel. As an industry, we haven’t been brave enough to break this vicious cycle.

How many accessories brands do you own now and what are their current market shares?

We have three brands, all in partnership with our China team. We have the Rock brand which is online, the Rock Space brand which is offline, and iHave which is a B2B brand. These are all international brands, but in India they are registered with us.

We have seen massive growth, growing multiple times in the last few years. While the total market size is worth Rs. 7000-8000 crores and is growing rapidly, there is no syndicated research that shows how much of it is grey market. So it’s very difficult for us to judge our market share accurately.

headphone

What are the current trends in this space? How will you leverage them in the next five years?

It is really amazing how the interconnected world is revolutionizing the smartphone. For example, earlier it was just voice and audio base media. Then focus shifted to the screen and internet connectivity. Now we have moved on to multi-sensors connected to the smartphone device. As internet moves from 2.0 to 3.0, the smartphone is moving in the same direction. Similarly, service applicationssuch as music, health, education, are now coming onto smartphones, because of inter-connectivity of services.

At Intartic, we are very excited and optimistic about these changes and that’s what inspired us to get into this space. Every month we provide new innovations to be able to keep pace with this growing inter-connectedness, and cater to the changing needs of the consumers.

Who are your current channel partners and how do you plan to expand the product portfolio in the market?

For Rock products, we partner with Amazon and Flipkart, which are the leading online platforms, and we sell directly to them. We started with trading and expanded into manufacturing on power banks and cables. We now intend to get into many more categories with these partners. Besides that, we have a healthy number of resellers who are selling all our products online.

For offline selling, we use our premium brand Rock Space. We have a 2-tier distributors system in many states in India. As we have grown organically, there are still few markets left to make in-roads into. We have invested a lot of resources into training these distributors to sell our products.

We offer products that are both value for money and of good quality. For example, we providebasic cablesthat arecompetitively priced&of high quality, andcome with service warranty.We specialize in introducing innovative and need-based products, let’s saya product which provides multi-USB connectivity to the single port in the car.

Our model is such as that we sell basic products which are current and keep adding new products so that the portfolio keeps expanding, and the channel and consumers get a taste of it. Thus, we cater to the latent needs of the consumer.

We also come up with very innovative products, for example, we have launched some mobile covers almost two months before the phone is launched. We have tie-ups with international brands like Hello Kitty, Doraemon etc. to enter new categories for kids.

Overall, we are planning to expand in terms of both product and segment.

usb cable

Do you have any plans to expand your presence in online as well? Can you please elaborate?

We already have a robust online presence. Having said that, we have plans to expand our re-seller network. We want more and more re-sellers to join us in online and offline modes. We would be very glad to take them onboard.

What is the core business strategy of your products?

The Core Business Strategy of our products is as that we play in different segments. First is what I call the price fighters that help us to expand the channel and sell the current products. The second is the profit-builders – these help build the channel as well as the customer, in terms of innovations.

So, our business strategy is that we provide innovative and premium products. At the same time, we also sell niche products, such as a dashboard camera, by which you can take a video in your car. The idea is to continuously provide what is current so that the customers don’t get put off. If we provide only premium products, many customers won’t try anything new.  We want maximum customers to try on new, innovative products, and then keep upgrading them onto new products and technologies, so that their lifestyle and phone experience keeps on enhancing.

For example, at the start someone may be able to afford only a basic power bank, and through us he gets a good quality power bank at a decent price. But tomorrow, he may want a power bank with a screen or light. So essentially, through our products we help the customer to move up the value chain gradually, as per his needs.

As a core business strategy, we want to actively be part of manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ program. We are already manufacturing some key segment products in India. This helps us to (1) bring better value to the market, (2) bring it faster to the market, (3) let consumers know that in case of any fault, there’s a technical fall-back, and (4) be slowly able to create and add categories that are relevant to the Indian market.  So, our business strategy takes care of both the demand side as well as the supply side. We have already done this successfully in few categories, and we intend to add more.

Power Bank

What are some of the biggest differentiating aspect of Intartic and your unique product Rock Space?

(1) Our strong Lineage – both Rock and Rock Space have been accepted across the globe for over 8 years.

(2) No-compromise on quality – Our brands have survived so long in this fickle market because we don’t compromise on quality, and neither do we charge unrealistic prices. We provide high-quality products at a good price point.

(3) We understand technology and the evolving customer needs – we continuously keep on adding on to the product portfolio. We have a huge category and we have the courage to add on to that every 15 days.

What has been the response for Intartic so far- consumer and business?

The response for our online and offline products have been overwhelming. We are aligned with the expectations and aspirations of today’s working professionals as well as the tech-savvy millennials. Our innovative products directed at them are being very well received.

Few months back, Intartic came up with its first store in the heart of Delhi, which offers only genuine products, with one-year warranty for complete customer satisfaction.

Our latest range of state-of- the-art Rock and Rock Space range of products are much sought after by the consumers.

store

Going forward, what are some of your roadmap in the coming year?

Today, Technology is evolving very fast. And while we can’t divulge details, I can assure that we will continue to add new innovative products, especially in categories of earphones and audio devices.

I am honoured that the industry appreciates and supports our efforts and initiatives. I myself have been in the industry for so long that I understand its nuances very well.

I look forward to providing good quality, Made-in-India products, and I am looking to every partner to join and support us. Together, we should be optimistic and charged up for the exciting journey ahead.

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