Japanese electronics giant Sony shifts its focus to online sales to stay relevant during the coronavirus shutdown in India. “We expect customers will tend towards online sales,” Sunil Nayyar, Managing Director, Sony India, told Indianexpress.com on a phone call. “We are getting towards this new normal, which is going to be tilted towards the online phenomena,” he said.
Sony has traditionally been active in the offline retail space, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced the entire electronics industry to go digital. Nayyar says all of the company’s 188 Sony centers across the country, which are franchise-owned, will start selling Sony products online from this week. Even Sony’s offline retailers are embarking on their online retail presence to reach out to customers in these unprecedented times.
“We have been stronger in the offline channel because of the demand,” he said, adding that “offline still holds a big proportion in India, but I think post COVID-19 maybe the situation changes a bit. We are watching very carefully.”
Nayyar admits that Sony has been slow to embrace web sales and gain an advantage. That does not mean Sony has neglected e-commerce completely. “We have been working with Amazon and Flipkart quite closely for a couple of years. Of course, I cannot boast super aggressively, but in some categories, we have done a good job specifically headphones and cameras,” he said.
He said the coronavirus pandemic has taught Sony to adapt and be more prominent in the online space. “Sony will become a prominent and strong online brand. We will, of course, closely work with Amazon and Flipkart and work out what we can do better there and at the same time develop relationships with our offline partners to enhance their online capabilities and websites,” Nayyar adds. As a policy, Sony cannot sell its products directly to consumers through its website.
TV viewing increased dramatically during lockdown
Nayyar said the TV viewership timing has jumped by doubled or tripled during the last 40 days, as demand for the content surged as consumers holed up at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He expects the demand for Sony’s Bravia TVs will increase once the lockdown lifts. “I know there is a pent up demand for televisions, especially big screens,” he said.
To bounce back stronger from the Covid-19, Sony is offering discounts and special prices on its Bravia TVs, under its “Stay Home, Stay Safe” programme. The discounts are in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 2 lakh, for its 85-inch model. It has launched a new 85-inch model priced at Rs 5.9 lakh.