To strengthen its share in the water purifier market, Kent RO Systems Ltd has decided to enter retail marketing directly, through exclusive stores called Kent Shoppe’s. It has planned 200 Shoppe’s in a year.
This will add to its present network of multi-brand dealers. It has 6,000 distributors across India. Kent would become the only water purifier company to have exclusive stores. Other companies Business Standard spoke to don’t have any plans to open exclusive stores.
“Since a water purifier is a concept-selling product, we are going to set up our own exclusive stores. We plan to open 50 Kent Shoppe’s stores by end-December,” said Mahesh Gupta, chairman. The stores will open in metropolitan cities.
Kent started with the upper segment market and entered the lower segment when players like Hindustan Unilever and Tata took on the market with non-electrical water purifiers. It launched Kent Gold Optima and Kent Gold Plus (non-electrical purifiers priced at Rs 2,600 and Rs 1,500, respectively) just before Tata launched Swach. While non-electrical water purifiers are targeted at the low segment, the company does not have any firm plans for the rural market. It plans to expand its distribution in urban areas for the time being. “We would first focus on urban areas, as even the urban market is under-penetrated at this stage,” adds Gupta.
Kent has around 40 per cent market share in the RO category; Eureka Forbes has 45 per cent. The exclusive stores are aimed to help Kent consolidate its market share in the upper segment purifier market. Kent is a late entrant in the non-electrical segment, where it has 15 per cent market share. It believes the exclusive stores will help it increase its share in the lower segment, too.