Cisco targets to double its consumer-focused channels


What is the roadmap for Cisco’s Consumer Product division for FY 2010-11?
We have been highly committed to the Indian market and have a much focused channel strategy to reach out to customers in India, now focusing tremendously on the tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We are committed to expanding home networking business with innovative new products and marketing that lead to a broader mass-market adoption. Our aim is to make the devices simple and accessible for anyone to enjoy the wireless home experience and create experiences that help consumers become comfortable with using technology to enrich their lives.

Which technology and products do you think will be the key drivers this year?
India is at the forefront in adopting new wireless technologies, largely fueled by the rapid growth in broadband penetration. According to TRAI, there would be 20 million broadband connections and 40 million Internet connections by 2010. With 3G and WiMAX services to be launched in the country soon, broadband will be everywhere. We are seeing a high growth in the introduction of gadgets that harness the benefits of wireless connectivity such as WiFi enabled televisions, gaming consoles, mobile phones, video cameras, etc.

The consumers are also demanding technologies where they can use wireless Internet to connect with devices remotely.

What measures are you taking to ensure that the company taps maximum growth opportunities in the consumer market?
We are looking to tap the nascent yet fast growing Indian market by bringing a slew of wireless N routers. Cisco is also focused on strengthening its service and support network to differentiate itself from others. We understand that service and support plays a crucial role in consumer loyalty. In line with this, we have partnered with Accel bringing 16 service centers throughout India. In addition, we have commissioned product exchange centers at Indore, Nagpur, Goa, Surat, Baroda, Jaipur, Kochi and Trivandrum. We are planning to commence exchange centers at other locations as well and expecting to open up 22 more by the end of the current year.

Which are the new markets in India that you plan to enter? 
Currently, 85 percent of Cisco India’s Consumer Products Groups’ total revenue comes from top metropolitan cities. Apart from these cities, there’s a huge demand for broadband in tier-3 and tier-4 cities as well.  The demand in these cities is not limited to basic consumer goods (televisions and refrigerators) anymore. With the changing lifestyle being more digital and mobile, the IT economy seems to be spreading beyond metros and the other cities are driving the growth in the IT market.  Thus, we have felt the need to grow our presence in tier-2 and -3 regions also and therefore have tied-up with key retail stores in some key cities. Tier-2 and -3 cities like Surat, Pune, Ahmadabad, Trivandrum and Coimbatore among others are looking promising and thus have emerged as the key target markets for Cisco Consumer Products.

What strategy are you pursuing when it comes to channel partners and resellers?
We are planning various ‘below the line’ and ‘above the line’ marketing promotions for channel partners. We have prepared a training calendar to educate our partners on new products and technologies that they can take to their customers in SMB and consumer segments. At present, we are focusing on wireless N router through workshops and various other channel promotions. These trainings are usually a mix of hands on and/or WebEx/ TelePresence based. Also, depending on the audience; whether retail, SI, reseller etc, we conduct technical as well as sales trainings for our channel partners. In the sales trainings, the emphasis is on the upsell opportunities that can result in higher revenues and margins for our channel partners.

Are there any plans to increase the channel base in the country? 
We have put a target of doubling our consumer-focused channels within the next one year to 4,000. We have identified 135 towns as the markets with huge demand potential. We feel that a focused channel expansion effort in these markets will help us achieve a high double digit growth in India.

What are the schemes in the pipeline for the channel fraternity for the JAS & OND quarter?
Cisco is strongly focused on raising the bar on Wireless-N technology adoption in India by driving awareness of the more powerful basic wireless router, Linksys WRT160N. Cisco is running a promotional offer wherein partners can now choose to enjoy a unit of WRT160N router free for every purchase of five units of the router, or a limited edition Cisco branded travel bag priced Rs 1,499 on a purchase of two units of WRT160N router.

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