Monday, July 15, 2024

How Alumil India is betting big on its Experience Centres and AR

By N Jayalakshmi | June 19, 2024

The fully-owned Indian subsidiary of Alumil Group, a leading global player in design and manufacture of high-quality architectural aluminium systems, has been going big on its retail expansion plans in India. In an exclusive interaction with Retail4Growth, Theodoros Axouristos, MD Alumil India, shares with Retail4Growth, the company’s focus on retail expansion, how its Experience Centres help in getting closer to its customers, and more … 

Theodoros Axouristos, MD Alumil India, is someone who feels passionately about windows and doors, and it comes through when he talks about his company’s approach to retail and its expansion plans in India. Indeed, for the brand that sells high-quality architectural aluminium systems, including window and door systems, curtain wall/facade systems, rolling shutters and fencing solutions, a physical store can contribute in many ways that go beyond selling. It can be the space where customers get a ‘window’ into the world of doors and windows and all that go into their effective functioning. As Theodoros Axouristos shares with Retail4Growth in an exclusive conversation, “Everywhere in the world, and especially in India, customers need to see something before they buy, when it comes to their doors and windows.  It is really important for them to have the opportunity to feel the product and try it. After all, it's a big decision to decide what windows they will be using in their house. It's not something that you can afford to get wrong the first time.” 

This is one of the reasons, Alumil India, the fully-owned Indian subsidiary of Alumil Group, a leading player in the design and manufacture of architectural aluminium systems, has been following a plan of consistent expansion across the country. The company recently announced the opening of its first exclusive partner showroom in Maharashtra at Nagpur. According to the company, its newly inaugurated showroom – Adish Aluminium, spanning 500 square feet - offers an immersive experience for customers and partners to explore Alumil's extensive range of products.

Expanding with slow, but sure steps

Speaking about the company’s expansion strategy, Theodoros, says, “We have been in the Indian market for about 8 years now but we started expanding last year. While we were focused mainly on the West earlier, we have now started expanding into the North and South, with plans to expand to the East as well.” 

Alumil India, whose parent company is headquartered in Greece, has six stores in India and is looking at opening more this year. But the company also firmly believes in a well thought out, careful expansion strategy. As Theodoros says, highlighting the challenges involved in offline expansion, “Expanding in the retail market requires a lot of resources. To start a showroom in India, we need to prepare for at least eight to 10 months ahead. Also, we are very careful while selecting our retail partners. It is important that they are aligned with the company’s focus on quality and customer experience.” 

<b>Alumil India's showroom in Nagpur features a complete range of window and door systems</b>

While the company gets its store and product designs from the headquarters, lot of efforts go into making sure local fabricators and partners adhere to the brand standards. “We have some very specific rules that need to be applied to the store space and facility, including the ambience. That is why we don’t expand very quickly, but take our own time,” says Theodoros.

Riding on the demand from tier 2-3 markets

Alumil India, which has lined up exciting store plans in cities like Ahmedabad and Surat, is pretty focused on tier 2-3 markets.  As Theodoros points out, “India is growing everywhere and we can see that a lot of construction activities are going on in tier 2-3 markets, where people seek high quality products that are used in the Metros.  So there definitely is a shift in these markets for premium products. Consumers understand that a window is for a lifetime and is an investment. Safety, ergonomics and functioning are very important aspects to look for, which are demonstrated in our stores.” 

Tech backed Experience Centre

Selling products like windows and stores to quality conscious customers entails offering and immersive and educative experience and this is the reason the company is planning to leverage technologies like augmented reality (AR) in some of its Experience Centres. “Customers must feel and understand the various features that go into our products. They need to have that multi-sensory experience to understand that you need 60- 70 different parts to make a window system,” explains Theodoros. And this is the reason the company is planning its first AR experience Centre in Ahmedabad with more in the pipeline. 

Alumil India stores range from 600 square feet and go up to 20,000 square feet, depending on the location and the size of the market, and are usually centrally located. Reiterating the company’s focus on expansion, Theodoros sums up, “India is a huge country, with more than 100 tier 2 cities which are all growing and we need to be present everywhere. Like in Greece, in India too, the first thing that families want is a home, so this is a growing market for our products.  And what better place than a store for people to feel and trust them.”   



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