In line with the global trends, the sliding doors have been growing in India market. Sliding systems have applications in areas like wardrobes, modular kitchens, aluminium door, etc. Aristo – one of the prominent international players in sliding doors solutions has been successfully developing it’s India market. Aristo works around 1000 stores worldwide. Buildingandinteriors.com speaks exclusively to Mr.Thomas Markose, Director – Marketing & New Product Development, Aristo India, on the company’s India story.
B&I: You seem to have had a good start with your sliding doors solutions? How would you see the journey of Aristo in India till now?
TM: The brand journey has been wonderful so far, considering the fact that Aristo India both created and has lead the market for tall floor-to-ceiling(F2C®) sliding doors wardrobes in India. We have also re-defined and enhanced the customer experience of sliding doors through our motto- Love at First Slide®. Both these terms have generated great level of interest amongst the Indian customers in our range of sliding solutions. This interest has successfully translated into business for Aristo India, more than what the other players in the Indian market have been able to achieve.
B&I: What is the price positioning of Aristo brand in India? Which segment / profile of customers do you cater to?
TM: Aristo offers products that score high on engineering and design. This, in turn, promises a new level of product experience and durability for the customers. Factoring these aspects of our solutions, I would like to call classify our solutions as those addressing the ‘affordable luxury’ segment.
B&I: Furniture fittings, and especially sliding doors solutions is not an easy category to position in the market. What have been the major challenges and what are your success mantras with Aristo?
TM: In sliding solutions, we were always attentive to the fact that sales, installation and post-sales experience hold the key for customer satisfaction. At Aristo, we have well-trained installation teams across the country. We are also proud to state that today, we run 6 back-end factories across the country and this strong backend helps us achieve greater customer satisfaction.
B&I: What differentiates Aristo from the other solution providers in sliding systems market in India?
TM: I believe that the two factors that keep us ahead in the markets are:
B&I: Sliding solutions are precision solutions where installations play a key role in determining the functioning and life of the systems. How do you control the variables in the installation processes?
TM: Our ingenious system has technology that helps the door self-adjust with minor variables. In addition to that, our products are always installed by our own trained teams. We do not believe in outsourcing installation to a 3rd party. Our installation teams go through the training programmes for all our systems. Interestingly, today we have expertise (which is a direct result of our experience) of installing more than 75,000 sliding doors solutions in various sizes, shapes and configurations across India.
B&I: What is the split between your retail and projects revenue? How do you see the OEM business – like the furniture, wardrobe and modular kitchen makers?
TM: Currently, we are 95% into the dealer retail and OEM sales. We are yet to create a project sales division. Interestingly, most of our current OEM’s also prefer to take the finished products (like a retail counter does). This is based on the confidence of the retailers and OEMs on our strong back-end processes where our trained and experienced teams handle glass and aluminium with ease. This is a much appreciated support that ensures hassle-free installations.
B&I: What is your criteria for identifying a new channel partner?
TM: Aristo India was set-up to make the full Aristo international range of sliding doors solutions freely available across India. Hence, we are open to collaborating with any partner looking for the latest in sliding solutions. The product has so many design options that each design partner uses it as a canvass to create their own style. Restrictions are enforced only if a dealer would like to fall into one of our branded display programs.
B&I: For the Architects and Interior Designers, what support services do you offer?
TM: Since our products communicate with an Interior designer or Architect more as a design element than functionality, we offer assistance with Aristo curated moodboards, unique in-house material options for finishes or effects and ultimately try and expand their product offerings with their clients. There is a new design innovation going on across our factories everyday!
B&I: You are also addressing the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh markets. How has your progression been in these countries? Any other neighbouring countries you are looking at expanding into?
TM: We have been talking with several potential partners for these regions and we should be available in these countries by 2021. With Aristo global working with expansion into other continents/countries, Aristo India will currently cater to only the above two countries.
B&I: Do you think that concepts like open source design will become popular in this industry? What challenges do you foresee in such concepts becoming mainline
TM: There is so much development going on worldwide to digitize design. In the near future, we can look at a situation where designers pick products from thoughtfully curated design libraries and ultimately have an option to seamlessly synch their work to factories/ stores to translate their work into reality.
B&I: Do you plan to leverage digital mediums (e-commerce) to deliver the final product to the end customer? Do you feel that online brands like Livspace have an edge over players with traditional set up?
TM: We are currently the preferred partners with all new-age interior companies for sliding wardrobe solutions and hence work very closely with all of them. These companies (like Livspace, Homelane etc.) have great leverage in the market over traditional setups and therefore, need partners that can scale alongside them in all respects.
B&I: How do you see yourself positioned in the long run – as a mass market player with standardized solutions, a niche market luxury player or mass customization player?
TM: We have different product models to cater to all the above market segments. However, currently at Aristo India, we are very focused and successful in the market of mass customization. For us, the niche luxury segment has been picking up, especially after we introduced our latest product lines for the luxury segment – the Classical Collection and Nova sliding wardrobes.