Opinion

Ramping up

<b>How are you formulating your go to market strategy for the retail market in the region?</b>
Flash category in general is evolving into an FMCG type of fast moving business. I also tell my sales staff that they need to sell within ten days. As Flash category leaders, we ensure that the retailers are getting the footfall of consumers from our side. We do roadshows at malls like the City Centre. We have done online campaigns, radio campaigns, billboards etc.  That is not enough. We do category management as well to strengthen our retail strategy.
We have dedicated concept centres called memory centres. That will educate end users about why they need and what they need in terms of USB storage.
Today when an end users walks into the store, vendors ask them to spend five dollars if they come with ten, with some offers. Memory centre does the opposite. It convinces them to spend more but in the bargain walk away with a better rewarding user experience with the product.
In addition, we have also tied up with a company called Gadgets International that is into merchandising and rack jabbing. They work with us and help maintain the look and feel of these centres as originally envisioned. They also help with proper merchandising in retail stores on our behalf. They also help create in-store promotions where we have promoters who are actively involved in helping consumers choose what they need to buy. All that ties into the overall retail experience. 
<b>Do you encourage up-selling as a conscious sales strategy?</b>
It is always nice to sell laptops. But in the current scenario, it is tough. Margins are low and if they don’t sell an accessory along with the notebook, it is not profitable.  So they educate the sales staff about the need to do cross merchandising. On a USB drive, he may make more margins than on a notebook. Same goes with other devices like a camera or a mobile phone.
What made you decide on the tie-up with Redington?
We cannot just rely on the retail channel with the current scenario in context, which is where Redington’s large network of SMB partners come into play. We want to support our partners in a better way and Redington will help us achieve that with product availability. They are one of the most efficient transporters of good in the region. They can support us on the logistics front and move our products to the GCC markets quite fast.

<b>What has been done on the support side?</b>
 Consumers want a good value for money. On the support side, we have launched a dedicate portal for consumer support which is www.sandisk.ae. It is Arabic enabled and supports users for products that need that kind of support. We also have a 800 toll free number for technical support. It relieves our channel partners as well as makes it easier for customers. Even replacements can be arranged through the 24 hr hotline.
 

<b>What is happening on the portable media players front? </b>
We continue to hold the number two position in the US for the $ 100 Flash media player market.  That encouraged us to introduce into Europe and the Middle East. Our share in this region is higher than in Europe. We don’t see the market growing and neither do we see a decline. Smaller Asian manufacturers are exiting this segment. So there is consolidation and our market share is bigger. There is still room for mp3 players like the clip from Sandisk. It is one of our very successful products at the moment. We still see space for a dedicated mp3 player. Having said that, we see the mobile phone accessories as the fastest growing category for us.

Tareq Husseini, Sales Director Middle East & Africa speaks with RWME on the details of Sandisk?s go to market strategy

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