3M – Reinforcing The Retail Connect
Commercial solutions are integral to 3M’s offerings. 3M’s Commercial Solutions Division offers a wide range of products for store interior and exterior design. recently appointed as the General Manager of the Commercial Solutions Division of 3M India, talks about her new role, plans for year 2015 and the potentials of commercial solutions.
Sujatha Narayan, General Manager-Commercial Solutions Division, 3M India
For traditional graphics, we deal with the marketing departments of companies that are incharge of brand identity and management. For refurbishment or maintenance projects, it is the facilities department that connects with us. For the rest, it is usually the projects team. 2015 will be the “year of the customer” for 3M, where we will be even more focused on meeting the needs of our customers and markets It makes sense for the brand to be talking to a single person at 3M. Our idea is to go deeper with the account so we are able to identify the problems that our customers face on an ongoing basis and provide value to solve them.
How do you tackle the challenges of operating in a price-sensitive market in India considering you're not a company born in India?
We leverage the innovations of 3M. We still find that imported products perceived as expensive have a market if the value proposition is strong. We are focused on value. Lot many accounts are willing to pay what the products cost because they really solve a problem or serve a need for them. Value vis-avis what is available is important. We have products for them as well. We usually have products that are termed tier A, B and C products that serve different kinds of customers. . We sell Tier A products by convincing the customer on the ROI. But there are customers who do not care about that. Then, Tier B and C products come into picture. That is also where localisation comes in. We may source it from other countries or India itself. Having a comprehensive range is important. Customers come to us and they pick up products meeting most of their needs from us.
What growth have you seen in the last 3-4 years?
If we talk about graphics, the digital printing segment has seen dramatic growth. Even though there is competition in the market, the 3M brand promise in terms of service and quality that 3M comes with, appeals to the customer. Although we came into the business a little late, we have seen customers move to 3M. We’ve seen tremendous growth in our matting business. We target people who value quality. The value selling approach works for us. Also, the clients we target matter. We don't go across the board selling our products. Instead we prioritise and segment the market before we approach our clients.
How would you compare the Indian market with any other country in Asia?
it has been a struggle. But