In order to offer holistic experience to the customers and a peak into future technologies, Crabtree – a well-known brand of Havells India Limited, plans to set up 100 Futuristic Smart Experience Centres across the country in the next 2-3 years. In an interview with Subhajit Roy, Vivek Yadav, Senior Vice President, Havells India Ltd. talks about the business strategy and future plans for Crabtree brand.
Havells acquired the India brand rights of Crabtree way back in 2006. What’s your strategies to take this brand to the next level?
Crabtree, a 100-year old British legacy brand for premium range of switches and home automation, is synonymous with aesthetically designed products and maintaining highest levels of engineering excellence which has helped the brand to retain its leadership position since its launch in 2002. Way back in 2006, when we acquired the brand, the focus was primarily on switches and domestic switchgears. However, as the brand has evolved, we are focusing more and more on electronics i.e. home automation and IoT based products which are aimed at making the life of consumers more convenient and smarter.
Our target audience is premium and high-end users i.e. HNIs and we are also looking at addressing architects, interior designers, designer community at large through our own teams. We are also looking at using our existing channel partners who are addressing high-end customers through our premium products to create experience center in their own shops and also sell Crabtree range of high-end products to their existing customers. As the technology is becoming simpler to use, easy to install, easier to manage, it is now possible reaching to wider customer base.
Secondly, we are not just looking at targeting the absolute top-end premium segment but today’s aspirational customer-base as well. Since every homeowner has an aspiration of upgrading himself and using certain products to upgrade his lifestyle. So, we are looking at different budget levels where we can address those needs of consumers through aspirational products.
Are you looking at expansion of Crabtree’s product range?
India is an aspirational country and at Havells, we are committed to launch products that cater to the changing preferences and rising sophistication among our valuable customers. Therefore, we would be launching products which are innovative and future-ready i.e. IoT or Internet-enabled. So, from this perspective, there is a lot of work which is going on in creating Crabtree platform where all the devices in a house whether it is kitchen, AC, TV, sockets and switches everything can be controlled through the Internet. Going with this philosophy, we are set to launch Smart Socket, a first of its kind Wi-Fi-enabled socket which fits in the existing socket of the home and any non-intelligent device such as microwave, geyser or air-conditioner can be controlled through your mobile.
In our existing range of home automation “Smart Wirefree”, we offer plethora of products to our customers.
Electric switch technologies have evolved over the years. What’s next for Crabtree?
We have recently launched SmartH switch, a first of its kind modular glass finish touch switch which is a blend of beauty with intelligence and fits in the existing switch box. These switches can be operated by connecting with Internet and may be operated via smartphones as well. These smart switches offer unique benefits such as easy installation, various control options (fans, curtains etc.), mood setting or dimming lights, voice control as compared to any other products available currently in the market today.
Why smart cities are a golden opportunity for Indian electrical industry?
The government’s “Smart Cities” is widely expected to push demand for quality electrical equipment and thus, opens up massive growth opportunities for electrical equipment manufacturers. Since there will surge in construction activity, the demand for high quality switchgears is bound to see a quantum jump.
Apart from smart cities project, the government’s various other schemes such as Make in India, Digital India, Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) are committed towards development of new infrastructure and revamping of the existing infrastructure in the country thereby improving India’s standing on the global arena.
Discuss on Havells’s most significant offering in the smart city domain.
Havells is fully geared up to tap the growth potential in the government’s ambitious Smart City project and has developed new technology-driven lighting products and home appliances to cater to the demand of innovative and quality electrical consumer products in the country.
The company has developed innovative LED solutions for street lighting that offer a centrally-controlled monitoring system enabling remote-controlled operations of street lights, energy analysis and fault monitoring. In regards to this, Havells is providing an end-to-end solution, right from conceptualising, design, in-house production to installation, testing and commissioning including maintenance. Havells is also offering a centrally controlled monitoring System (CCMS), which enables remote-controlled and scheduled operations of the lights, energy analysis, fault monitoring, etc. Also, exhaustive smart street lighting solutions for smart cities with in-house developed technology is ready in the stable.
Apart from this, in order to tap the growth potential in the power sector in India, we have already enhanced our manufacturing capabilities from 5 lakh lamps to 25 lakh lamps per month, so that it assists the government’s plans for increased efficiencies in the power sector.
With a dedicated state-of-the-art in-house huge production facility for fixture manufacturing, we at Havells are all set to support the government’s initiatives. We are now only focussing on the manufacturing of LED lights which have huge growth potential and currently contribute 75 per cent to our lighting division’s turnover.
What’s your strategy behind launching the Experience Centre in Jalandhar? How many such stores are in pipeline?
Today’s consumers are aspirational, are ready to uplift their lifestyle and want to make a statement by embracing intuitive products. The Internet-based smart technologies are adapted by consumers for convenience and in order to cater to this demand in a unique way, we have introduced our first Crabtree Smart Experience Center in Jalandhar which will provide holistic experience to the customers i.e. live experience of the smart products under one roof offering instant solutions for specific needs related to modern homes.
Our smart experience center will help customers to explore, purchase and experience Crabtree’s most intuitive and advanced range of products such as smart range of switches, switchgears, security systems and home automation products based on IoT and other futuristic technologies
We are planning to launch 100 such experience centers across India in the next 2-3 years.
Finally, what is your view on how things are likely to shape up post 2019 General Election?
We are hopeful that the new government will continue to work towards the improvement of the power sector and revamping of the existing infrastructure through schemes such as Smart Cities Mission, Make in India, Digital India, Integrated Power Development Scheme and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. We would wish the government to take continued efforts towards the augmentation of power sector and also strengthen power distribution.