Kohler is synonymous to style and luxury. In an exclusive interview with FIHL, Sharad Mathur, Managing Director of Kohler, shares his company’s expansion plans
Subhro Prakash Ghosh(SPG): What are your expansion plans (on all the formats including newly launched modular kitchen)?
Sharad Mathur (SM): We undertake many above the line and below the line activities to promote and build the brand in the country. We have adopted a franchise model as part of our expansion plans for both our bathroom and kitchen businesses. A franchisee gets world-class technical support and training on installation and servicing. Our franchisees are the most aware people on the latest trends and innovation in the field of sanitary ware in India and across the globe, who can provide expert advice and support to our customers as and when required.
SPG: How would you differentiate your brand (on all the formats) from your competitors? Who are your competitors in India and whom do you consider your target customers?
SM: At Kohler, our mission is to improve the level of ‘Gracious Living’ for each person who is touched by our products and services. We are working towards building Kohler as a strong brand in India that caters to the growing need for quality plumbing products for the Indian consumers. To stay ahead in the competition, we are constantly defining new frontiers of ideas, craftsmanship and technology in plumbing products for our customers. We are offering the best product design with a commitment to quality over a broad range of price points to our customers. We have been introducing new and innovative products, one of its kinds in Indian market.
To capture a high market share, we have also launched our flagship products like the Hatbox, sōk, WaterTile and DTV which have won world acclaim. These products are very innovative and different from any such product in the category offered by any competitor. Furthermore, we are offering consumers a higher level of retail experience in our showrooms, spread across the country and have put in place a strong engineering team to support installation and post sales, ensuring that the customers are comfortable in the entire buying cycle of our products.
SPG: Kohler’s maximum outlets are franchisee-operated. How do you think franchise model can be a better option in your expansion strategy rather than having company-owned?
SM: Presently franchisee-operated showrooms are working well for Kohler and we don’t have plans to open company-owned showrooms in near future.
SPG: What is the minimum criterion in terms of investment and area for a franchised store? What salient qualities do you seek in the prospective franchisees?
SM: The investment will depend on the location. The area depending on the city – could be from 2,000 to 3,500 sq. ft.
SPG: Where do you foresee India’s franchise industry after five years? How is this industry (in India) different from the other countries’ franchise industries where Kohler has already achieved firm grits?
SM: India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. India offers great potential for the sanitary ware market and its franchise industry. Interestingly, a major chunk of the Indian sanitary ware market is still untapped, which makes it a favoured market for players who are into sanitary ware. Thus, the future of the sanitary ware market and the franchise industry in India is very bright.