RITURAJ MOHAN

Indonesia Expat - - SNA MEDIA CLUB COLUMN -

BritCham un­der­takes two busi­ness road­shows per year and match-makes po­ten­tial ex­porters and pri­mar­ily mem­bers who have an in­ter­est in rep­re­sent­ing their prod­ucts or ser­vices. Guardian In­done­sia is a mem­ber of the Hero Group. It is the most recog­nis­able in­ter­na­tional health and beauty store chain in In­done­sia. Some Bri­tish health­care and beauty prod­ucts that rep­re­sent the fruits of our road­show labours can be found in-store.

Last week I caught up with Guardian In­done­sia’s Chief Op­er­at­ing Di­rec­tor, Rituraj Mohan, who is a ‘newer-comer’ to In­done­sia and who is very ex­cited by the Guardian legacy and the op­por­tu­nity it presents go­ing for­ward. As the in­ter­view un­folds, it is very easy to get a true sense of how Guardian’s three core val­ues of trust, pas­sion and in­spi­ra­tion drive some of the think­ing and busi­ness de­ci­sions.

Al­most ev­ery­one is fa­mil­iar with the Guardian orange liv­ery both within malls and on the main thor­ough­fares of Jakarta. But please share the ex­tent of the Guardian reach out­side the cap­i­tal and are there plans to con­tinue to ex­tend your pres­ence?

Around 50 per­cent of our stores are out­side of Jakarta. We are present on all the main Is­lands and are par­tic­u­larly strong in Bali. We al­ways look for ex­pan­sion op­por­tu­ni­ties, so watch this space.

Guardian of course dou­bles up as a phar­macy as well as health and beauty re­tail brand. What do you be­lieve to be the main at­trac­tion to the In­done­sian con­sumer?

We strive to of­fer a wide choice of prod­ucts in both health and beauty. In health­care, we of­fer in­ter­na­tional as well as trusted lo­cal brands in both pre­scrip­tion and non-pre­scrip­tion cat­e­gories. We want to pro­vide the In­done­sian con­sumer with a one stop shop for their well-be­ing and their beauty needs.

The growth in re­tail gen­er­ally seems to have cooled down in re­cent times, yet it seems that health and beauty is buck­ing this trend. What are the rea­sons for this and is it likely to con­tinue?

The rea­sons are many and var­ied. The in­tro­duc­tion of new brands, the grow­ing af­flu­ence of the pop­u­la­tion, and the de­sire to test and try new things are all help­ing to drive sales. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are be­com­ing more in­no­va­tive and de­liv­er­ing bet­ter and bet­ter prod­ucts. Con­sumers are also be­com­ing in­creas­ingly aware of their own health­care needs and are tak­ing proac­tive steps to re­main healthy. These are among the many fac­tors that are driv­ing the H&B sec­tor.

To what ex­tent does be­ing a mem­ber of the

Dairy Farm in­ter­na­tional group (wholly owned by Jar­dine Matthe­son) add value to the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence of an In­done­sian shop­per? Do you think this also helps you to ac­quire new brands and pro­vide more choice?

Be­ing a mem­ber of the Di­ary Farm fam­ily cer­tainly helps me with in­ter­nal pro­cesses, with fresh think­ing from around the world and with world class ex­per­tise in many dif­fer­ent ar­eas. All of these com­bine to help me de­liver a bet­ter shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for the cus­tomer.

Reg­u­lar shop­pers at Guardian will have no­ticed a grow­ing num­ber of own-la­bel prod­ucts on your shelves. What drives this strat­egy?

Own brands give Guardian a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion from other re­tail­ers. They also of­fer choice and value to the con­sumer. As such they are an im­por­tant part of our plans.

You are Bri­tish and pre­vi­ously spent time in an­other ASEAN coun­try, Thai­land. What have you no­ticed as the main dif­fer­ences in con­sumer habits, say be­tween Thai and In­done­sian mil­len­ni­als? Does pre­vail­ing cul­ture im­pact choices at all?

Leav­ing aside dif­fer­ence due to re­li­gion such as ha­lal prod­ucts, there is very lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the needs and as­pi­ra­tions of mil­len­ni­als here in In­done­sia and in Thai­land or in­deed in other coun­tries. They all want to look good, want the lat­est prod­ucts, are dig­i­tally con­nected and so know what’s go­ing on in the world. They are not afraid to ex­per­i­ment and are con­stantly look­ing for new things to try. They keep re­tail­ers on their toes!

Also, by way of a com­par­i­son, what are the most no­table dif­fer­ences of lead­ing re­tail in Thai­land vis-a-vis In­done­sia?

The re­tail mar­kets are very sim­i­lar in the way they are set up. Big shop­ping malls dom­i­nate the big cities, street re­tail­ing is not pop­u­lar and tra­di­tional re­tail­ing (mom and pop stores) still dom­i­nates but is de­clin­ing. There is more choice in Thai­land right now, but things are chang­ing in In­done­sia and more and more man­u­fac­tur­ers are bring­ing new brands to the coun­try than be­fore. Al­though re­tail in Thai­land is slightly fur­ther ahead than In­done­sia, we are catch­ing up fast.

Fi­nally, and one for the ladies… what are your top three sell­ing health and beauty prod­ucts?

Ce­taphil skin cleanser Bio­derma Sen­si­bio Cal­en­dula cream All three are skin prod­ucts that are used ex­ten­sively by our cus­tomers to help them look and feel great. (Keep look­ing and feel­ing great! CW).

RITURAJ MOHAN – HAS SPENT MOST OF HIS LONG CA­REER WITH MA­JOR IN­TER­NA­TIONAL BRANDS IN PHAR­MACY, HEALTH AND BEAUTY IN THE UK, THAI­LAND AND IN­DONE­SIA

THE COM­MU­NITY RE­TAILER - BEAUTY BOXES IN SUP­PORT OF GIV­ING KIDS A SPORT­ING CHANCE AT THE BRITCHAM CHRIST­MAS PARTY 2016

RITU WITH HIS TEAM OF STORE PHAR­MA­CISTS AND RE­TAIL AS­SIS­TANTS

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