Having signed a distributorship with top Kenyan-based African distributor Niti last year, mobility and accessories brand Cursor is looking to take its African vision to the next level in 2014 as Murali G, Cursor MD explains
2013 was important for Cursor’s African strategy with your products now available all throughout East Africa. Discuss the success so far
We’ve appointed distributors in Africa and we are pursuing our presence in retail and B2B in those markets through them. Very important for the continent are logistics to make sure that our distributors have stock available at all times. The popularity of our brand is such that we’ve been able to create demand in many African countries.
Your push into Africa is based on your new range of tablets launched last year. Discuss some of the key specs and features in these devices.
We have started with two models, the 3G and the Pro series, both running on the latest Android Jelly Bean 4.2 software. The Pro Series is for business people who require high quality tablets to carry out their business with apps to match. These tablets have top-notch touch capabilities and all the qualities of the leading brands. We are already seeing and filling orders coming in from our target group-the business community. Based on market feedback, customers’ first impressions are of a solid-built product wrapped in an attractive design. The 3G models on the other hand are the result of rising demand for 3G mobile devices. This tablet can also act as a phone compatible with WorldSIM. This model has shown significant interest especially in Africa.
Also new for Cursor are Bluetooth speakers. Discuss some strong qualities for these as well
Our new range of speakers, like our other products, is unique and not competing with other products out there. That is our main selling point. We do not go for common models but only unique models that no one else has in the GCC. Our Bluetooth speakers also include USB port and card readers as well. We already have two models out of the total 10 models we hope to have eventually. Next month, we are also planning to bring new UPS models in the market while we hope to add surveillance cameras in our portfolio in the near future.
Discuss your resale strategy in light of different market conditions in the areas you operate
In Dubai, we do direct retail ourselves while working through our distributors in the rest of the markets. We work with our specific distributors and retailers as we don’t want to compete with the other brands out there in the market. We have been able to reach 25 countries already. In 2014, we’ll be expanding to India and Europe as well. Our products are accepted all over the world and we are actually doing very well in the CES countries. This is because we have specific European models that we use to target the European consumer. We supply our international distributors, including in East Africa, through two methods; we supply them with assorted containers from Dubai mixed with our range of products which we can do from here. When they need much more quantity of just a few products, then we supply them directly from our China office.
Discuss some of your partner enablement programmes to help your distributors expand into new horizons
We assist our partners through marketing materials as well as marketing funds. Then it’s up to them to decide what type of marketing activities they want to do whether it is road shows or public brand launches depending on their own marketing plans.
What are the criteria for selecting your distribution partners?
We are very selective on giving distribution rights of our products and we won’t go with just anyone. We use the one country-one person model. This will help the distributor grow more because they do not have competition in their own domains with similar brands. The ideal distributor should have a distribution network in terms of adequate infrastructure. They also need to operate a network of service centres that can carry out service directly because they are in charge of R&M within our recommended turnaround time of one week.
Discuss some key factors behind the continued success of the Cursor brand despite its relatively short period of existence
Our success is the confidence that our partners need as this assures them of the reliability of our products. We care about the expectations of our customers matched with the best service possible. In fact, in the last one year that we’ve been selling products through the Cursor brand, we have had less than 0.5% R&M (Repair and Maintenance) requests from our customers. Our strategy is based on having a brand focus and service. Customers cannot get this from the no-brand models in the market. A decade ago competition was low and margins were high. Now it’s the reverse. That is why we are trying to emphasise on service as our main strategy in addition to our distribution model.
The plan for 2014 is to sustain those gains we have made and then move to streamline business operations in those markets. The aim is to increase market share in those countries. We will also try to add more countries as well.