In the series of interviews with market leaders, change-makers, and innovators, we bring our next interview with a market leader and visionary, Mr. Mandeep Arora, Managing Director, UBON.
Mandeep Arora is the Managing Director & Co-founder of UBON -an Indian gadget accessory & consumer electronics’ brand that addresses the need for ‘Connected Consumers’ and ‘People-on-the-go’. The chief dreamer and founder of the company Mr. Mandeep Arora is a BA-LLB graduate. He is also a Joint Legal Advisor, Delhi Mobile Traders Association wherein he works towards providing the right quality mobile phone accessories that durable and affordable for the masses of the nation. Due to his keen interest in electronics & mobile accessories, he chose to be a businessman and it was during this time period when Mandeep got a platform to transform his vision into reality by co-founding UBON.
- How has been the journey of UBON?
UBON started its journey as an electronic brand in the year 1999; however, we officially registered it in 2004. UBON is a lifestyle brand that deals in Wireless Bluetooth Speakers, Headphones, Chargers, Data Cables, and Car Accessories. Today, it is India’s leading Gadget Accessory & Consumer Electronics brand catering to Tier I, II, and III cities. Our motto is to meet the needs of connected consumers and people on the go.
Since our inception in the year 1999, together with our trusted team of employees and our franchise partners we have worked tremendously aiming at an upward journey every day. From a small shop in Lajpat Rai Market to the presence of UBON in more than 300 cities all over India, we have come a long way. We have also been conferred with the ‘Most Promising Brand of The Year-2019’ by The Economics Times.
- You decided to penetrate a market which was dominated by foreign brands. How did this idea come?
UBON was launched to provide high-quality gadgets and mobile accessories to consumers of every sector, vertical, and society. With proper R&D and the right use of technology, we offer products such as Bluetooth speakers and headphones, chargers, cables, car accessories, care products, surge protectors, and more than 125 accessories. With the rapid growth in marketing and design prospects, there is no serious intervention of good branded players in the mobile phone accessory world, we are creating distinctive and well-built products that match Indian and international standards. We aim to deliver the same by offering the latest technology equipped with stylish yet long-lasting accessories at an affordable price.
We follow a no-compromise policy and use the best and latest technology to serve better with the highest quality products. Apart from this, we are working on a minimum profit plan as we are constantly working for consumer satisfaction rather than focusing on revenue generation. We have rigorous checking measures at our factory and corporate office. All our products undergo thorough and extensive checking procedures and measures. We at UBON believe that Quality check & Quality Assurance together only can make a perfect product for the consumer. UBON is the first company in India to launch Solar Power Banks, Wireless Power Banks & wireless charging pads.
- From a small shop in Delhi to a presence across major cities in India. What were the difficult moments during this transition?
We started as a small shop in Lajpat Rai Market in Delhi where we used to deal with earphones and mobile accessories in our shop. While working in the wholesale business, we noticed that there was a gap in the products available in the market in terms of price, quality, and reliability it offers. So, to eliminate cheap accessories from the Indian market, we came up with our own brand, ‘UBON’ with our main focus on providing our customers with quality products at affordable pricing.
At UBON, we value the needs of ‘Connected Consumers’ and ‘People on the go’. We aim at manufacturing excellent quality gadgets at an affordable price while focusing on both, the right assembly of equipment combined with well-built quality. The brand caters to every sector, vertical, and society with its wide range of product portfolio with more than 700+ SKU’s.
- How does this industry of consumer electronics shaping up?
The consumer electronics and accessories market in India has seen an upward graph in the past decade. With the advent of faster internet connections and new technologies, this consumption of mobile phone accessories will upsurge in the future. Growing smartphone penetration gave a major push to the Accessories Market in India. After China, India contributes majorly to the development of the Mobile Phone Market globally. Currently, more than 90 percent of the mobile components are imported in India and the segment relies heavily on shipments from China and Taiwan for handsets. The Government under its Make in India initiative aims to reform this by encouraging local manufacturing, with incentives, etc. With the Government’s support in a phased approach, the sector has gone through a huge transformation.
With the current scenario of #BoycottChinessGoods, the future of Indian consumer electronics and accessories seems very bright. This will give a major push to Made in India Companies which lead India on the path of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
In the future, one can witness India as a hub to develop innovative gadgets and mobile accessories with a high degree of differentiation. The rapid growth in mobile phone usage has created a thriving market demand for mobile accessories globally and it will promote higher business sector growth.
The markets will provide opportunities to those who offer quality and latest technologies, despite challenges. Chinese products with low quality and low prices have invaded the market for a long time. Now quality is the concern for users and UBON’s prime focus is on Quality check & Quality Assurance.
- How much has digital media played a role in your growth?
Digital Media played a tremendous role in the growth of UBON as a brand. We believe that digital media is one of the strongest tools to reach out to potential customers in the present time. Thus, we at UBON love to experiment with innovative ways to tell our story to our public via digital media. We recently collaborated with India’s leading digital influencer- Jannat Zubair to increase our digital footprints. In fact, we also came up with various digital-only contests and campaigns, especially during the lockdown as more than ever our target audience is present on the web. We came up with our exclusive property #GrooveWithUBON, a digital-only dance championship to encourage dancing in India. The championship was co-judged by Mr. Karthik Priyadarshan who is the 2019 world champion and a bronze medalist- Hip Hop International Dance Championship- 2015, Ms. Jannat Zubair- Actor and popular Social Media Influencer and Mr. Pavan Rao, bronze medalist- Hip Hop International Dance Championship- 2015 and Mr. India 2017. The championship saw thousands of participants from all over India and was a big hit. In fact, during Navratri, we relaunched the competition for Garba lovers naming it as #UBONGarbaChallenge.
- How do you utilize both offline and online channels? What’s the major difference between the two?
UBON has a robust supply chain network which enables it to distribute its products all over India basis the distribution network level available in every state. To make UBON available everywhere, we are putting our faith in offline channels more than online channels. Interestingly, in our research, we found that people prefer to try and physically feel the product before making a buying decision. This consumer behavior pattern led us to develop eye-catchy products and premium as well. We have also collaborated with leading online marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal, and Flipkart to reach the masses. UBON has mastered the retail chain network across India and can be found in the majority of shops and showrooms in the country.
- Brand trust is very important for indigenous brands. How did you create that trust?
We aim to be the best consumer electronics and accessories company in India, that too in terms of every aspect. ‘After Sales Service’ is the most important factor when it comes to consumer satisfaction & customer retention and we cannot afford to compromise on the same. Speaking on the same, I should mention, all UBON products are covered under 1-year UBON Black Warranty. We have more than 650+ service centers all over India to cater to every need of the consumer.
- How useful will be onboarding of Rana Daggubati for the brand?
Keeping up with the Ubon’s tagline ‘born to be free,’ Daggubati was a unanimous choice for a brand ambassador. No one can represent the true spirit and energy of Ubon better than Rana Daggubati in the southern part of India. Apart from being an actor, Rana Daggubati is big-time tech-savvy. With this new association, the brand will aggressively tap the South Indian markets. We have received quite a good response in the festive and looking for amazing sales in the days to come.
- Corona and anti-china sentiments have affected imports. How important is it for Indian brands to leverage this opportunity?
Covid-19 has impacted the global economy and has fuelled anger in world capitals, resulting in anti-Chinese campaigns. China is the largest producer of raw material which is used across sectors but due to the crisis faced by the world due to pandemic originated from China, has now built a conversation around #BoycottChineseProducts and rethinking trade ties with the country.
This situation is a blessing in disguise for India. A lot of companies from the US are coming to us for samples of raw materials because they don’t want to import from China anymore.
The Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme could give the much-needed fillip to the country’s disrupted business operations by promoting Make in India manufacturing, encourage the substitution of imports of low-technology goods from other countries, particularly China, and encourage local produce at lower prices.
Team Next Big Brand extends heartiest wishes to Mandeep and the amazing team at UBON. Kudos to him for such an amazing and insightful interview.
You can check our other interviews here.