GOPU NANDILATH – The Man who made South India’s Largest White Goods Empire
From a small showroom dealing with household equipments in Kurupam Road Thrissur, to 18 new generation retail showrooms spread all across Kerala, the journey that Gopu Nandilath undertook is quite scintillating. The tale of Gopu Nandilath Group which was founded 29 years back in the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur is a success story of finding place in consumer’s heart through their trusted service.
The launch new age Nandilath G- Mart in Thrissur was a major turning point for him. He heralded the digital wave in the Kerala. With more than 200 international and national brands retailing in G-Mart catapulted itself to the top selling retail chains in India. Nandilath G -Mart has now showrooms spread all over Kerala give the consumers an amazing world of rare and most modern home appliances of the internationally popular brands. Gopu Nandilath Group sustains the No 1 dealer position of almost all the leading brands through our truthful service and the immense experience in sales and after sales service which no one else can claim.
Our Associate Editor Bejoy George talks with Gopu Nandilath the man who runs the entire show about his life and business.
Can you tell our readers about the time when you started the business.
The first showroom of Nandilath in Kuruppam Road, Thrissur in 1984. It was started with a dream to provide home appliances of international quality and emerging technologies to the customers in Kerala. Many of the major brands of the time at that time now cease to exist. In that time people bought home appliance for a lifetime. It was also the time when television started to became popular in Kerala. We sensed a decent a business opportunity when we started the business, and it turned out be very good. Something that has not changed is the values we keep in this business.
Was there any breakthrough in your business? or the business grew just organically.
Our business is built on strong foundations and we always made sure that business keeps growing. Our growth has always been organic, building a block at a time. Keeping that in mind, I should also say the opening of the Nandilath G-Mart, Thrissur in 2004 gave a major breakthrough. It was one of first large scale home appliances showroom in Kerala. Nandilath G-mart is now present in Mavoor Road in Kozhikode, Thazhe Chovva in Kannoor, Karamana in Trivandrum, Edappally in Kochi, Calicut Road-Perinthalmanna, Tana- Iringalakkuda, Kadappakkada-Kollam Main Road-Koilandy , Bypass Road- Vadakara, Vadanappally, Mele Pattamby, and Mannarkkad. We are planning to increase our presence to more towns and make our showroom count to 50.
Why did you choose white goods business.
People like to have a comfortable life. Some appliance like AC, Washing Machines was considered luxuries, when we started the business. Now almost every house has one of them. People also like to upgrade their home appliances. In the 90’s almost every house had only a 165 litre refrigerator, now consumers want bigger refrigerators, like double door refrigerators. Same is in the case with Televisions, earlier we had 20 inch and 21 inch CRT televisions, now we have big size 3D LED televisions. What I am trying to say is the scope of this business. There is always a latent need to up the comfort. Looking from another angle we are helping people to be more comfortable and happy.
What are the values you keep in your business?
One of the major advantages that our consumers see in us our strong support system. We always believe that great support brings back more customers. We also try to provide authorized service where it is possible. We always treat customers like kings, we try to understand their needs and provide all support to make a choice. We make sure that once a person becomes a Nandilath G-Mart customer he will come back to us for his future purchases. I also believe that there is no substitute for hard work. It is just hard work that made our business, what it is today.
You are in the business for the last 29 years. Customer Experiences?
We have a trusted band of loyal customers, who has stayed with us all these years. There are many memorable experiences of customer loyalty. Our customers that always give us feedback to improve the business. Some customers are very knowledgeable and give great ideas to implement. Our NRI customers have always backed. Many of them just call up our showroom and order home appliances for their dear and dear and we deliver it to them. They trust us completely and we make sure that we give them the best products and service.
What is the vision about your business?
The 29 years of experience and the deep knowledge of home appliances marketing makes the success story of Gopu Nandilath Group a series. It is Gopu Nandilath Group’s vision to provide an ‘International Shopping Experience’ to customers through the idea of ‘International Brands under one Umbrella’. We wish to make it happen with the support and blessings from all the good customers and well wishers. In line with our vision we are planning to increase showroom count to 50 in near future.
What is your current business Size?
We are presently the number one home appliances dealer in South India. We have 18 outlets across all major cities and towns in Kerala. We have a customer base of more than 2 Crores. We deal with more than 200 national and international brands and over 5000 types of products. We have more than 1000 sales advisors and 1200 service personnel. We have more than 1000 awards which were bestowed for our outstanding performances in sales and service. We are all set to start new Nandilath G-Mart Showrooms in Thodupuzha, Alapuzha, Thiruvanthapuram, Kochi and Thiruvallla. We already have showrooms in Thiruvanthapuram and Kochi , we are increasing the presence in these towns because of the huge customer support.
Is the group expanding into other business verticals?
I believe in the core-competency theory. My competency is home appliances business. I want to the best in this business. Diversification means that we lose focus on our core business. It should not happen. There is immense opportunity in this business and as I have told I am expanding my retail space. I am fully concentrated on that.
There are lot of online shops springing up these days. Is it any way hurting the traditional model of business?
Yes people are becoming more web-savvy and ordering online is fashion. But I think currently online retailing has not been successful in selling home appliances. The primary reason is the service part; most household items need installation. This cannot be done by the online retail sites. The maximum they can do is to courier the item. The courier people will not even bring it inside your home. When we sell an item to our customer, we make sure that we deliver it to their home and do the basic installation. Another major issue is with service part, we are committed to give the best service to our customers.
The customers also like to see the product and compare it with many products available. The sales advisors input are also important. An online store cannot provide all these and therefore naturally traditional showrooms have a good future ahead.
Keeping this in mind, an online store has many advantages. So many people today cannot go to a physical showroom; they will have to rely on an online platform. For people like that I have started an online store. The web address is www.nandilathgmart.com. So anybody who wants to purchase online can logon to our site and purchase products, and at the same has the privilege of our exemplary service.
Your jobs demand a lot a time. How do you relax and what are your hobbies?
I love travelling to new places. I have travelled to almost all countries in the world. Travel gives us a sense of being a world citizen. Travelling also gives me an opportunity to see how businesses are run in these places. I take clues from there and try to implement in my showrooms
I am an avid sports fan; I love all kind of sports, and cricket in particular. I have travelled to watch the finals of several football world cup editions. I have travelled to Pakistan with a special visa to see cricket matches. I also went to the Olympics and other major sporting events. I also had the honour to give the man of the match award to the great Sachin Tendulkar in post match ceremony in Sri-Lanka
What is your favourite destination?
All places have some unique charm, and as a traveller I enjoyed visiting this entire place. If you ask me for a particular destination, I would say New Zealand, those islands are really beautiful and the people are very friendly. Australia is also as a charming as New Zealand.
About your family?
We are settled in Thrissur. My wife Shiny, has been a strong support for me and my business. My daughter Aiswarya Sujith Nandilath and Arjun Nandilath help me understand new trends that appeal to youth.