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Tech@Home: Hisense Says After-Sales Service is as Important as Selling a Product Itself

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Fazalur Rahman, the Marketing Director at Hisense Middle East and North Africa, speaks about how the technology and consumer electronics buying experience has changed in recent months

How has the technology/consumer electronics buying experience changed in recent months? Do you see more people buying online or offline from tech retail stores?
When it comes to consumer electronics, we have witnessed a gradual shift in buying preferences over the years. While earlier individuals preferred to physically visit a store to scrutinise their goods before purchase, nowadays customers are open to buying products online. The pandemic has only accelerated the growth of digitalization and has forced whole consumer segments to shop differently.

Digitalization has made it possible for brands to market and sell their products online whilst also maintaining customer services. Those brands that took immediate steps to engage with their customers digitally, reaped the benefits during the pandemic as e-commerce was at an all-time high.

At Hisense, we believe that the new habits formed during the crisis are here to stay as they have permanently changed the values, attitudes, and behaviour of customers. It is essential for brands to maintain an omnipresent channel – digital and retail presence as well as build more resilience in their customer experience to emerge even stronger in the long run. Hence, we are present at all major retail outlets in UAE and on established e-commerce platforms like Amazon.ae and Noon.

Do brand stores still add value to the overall shopping experience?
Brand stores certainly enhance and add a greater value to the overall shopping experience. While customers now find it convenient to purchase products online, the visual appeal, as well as the touch and feel of a product before purchase, will always have greater value. For instance, our Laser TV brand stores have a superior ambiance that allows customers to have an aesthetic appeal and a complete experience before making a purchase.

The USP of Laser TV is a home cinema experience, which has to be experienced in real life, physically. Our high-value products are mainly driven by the display at retail outlets. In a brand store, with brand promoters present, customers are able to lay down their requirements and shortlist their products. Additionally, if they do have any questions, it is easier to ask the store representative, making for a quicker purchase.

If you were to list out the top five factors that people look for while shopping for tech products/consumer electronics/home appliances, what would those be?
Electronic items are a big investment; that’s why customers do thorough research before making any purchases. Based on our observations and customer queries in our product segments, we believe, the top factors that consumers carefully look out for before indulging in any consumer electronics are its features, specifications that are linked to technology that deliver customer expectations and usage requirements, price, design, quality, and of course trusted brand name.

Additionally, based on the product category, there are always additional factors that customers look for in a product. For instance, if it’s a TV they look for OTT service support, app’s, software compatibility, connectivity, games, and sound quality comes into play, in a refrigerator, technology like no frosting feature, size vs capacity, warranty, etc. are essential factors, whereas, for AC’s it is quick cooling, consumption, sound, service, etc. are crucial as well.

How high do people rate after-sales service these days?
After-sales service is as important as selling a product itself. It is a brand’s way of making customers feel cared for and valued even after purchasing a product. Customers tend to rely on their home appliances and electronics for day-to-day tasks as well as lifestyle. At times, these items become an essential part of life.

However, for any reason, if there is a disruption in this daily routine then it bothers them. Therefore, after-sales play an important part in the overall brand experience. Prompt customer service has a lasting impression on a customer that paves way for brand loyalty and ensures future purchases. A happy customer is also a potential brand ambassador, who will not only share great reviews about the brand online but will also boast about the products and features to their family and friends, thus, helping the brand to expand its customer base.

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