KURON Co Ltd, a leading manufacturer and distributor of hair styling equipment, said it plans to explore business opportunities via an export push and a stepped-up effort in online sales, managing director Norman Gaw said.
Gaw said that Kuron planned to ensure the company’s sustained growth in order to maintain the No 1 position in Thailand’s hair styling equipment market.
“We expect immense growth in the numbers of our international customers in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia as well,” he said. “For us, the business plan is for us to stay the most trusted leader in oral care, hair styling equipment, facial care equipment and small exercise equipment in the fitness and sports segment.
“We will continue to invest in our brands so that we will be top of mind for consumers and that they will keep loving our brand, which understands our customers’ needs. We aim to help solve customers’ pain points and ultimately makes our customers happy.”
Gaw said that the company’s research found that the Asia Pacific region is the world’s largest market for hair styling equipment. Chasing this demand, the company is looking at the Asean market for its initial export focus, particularly countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia.
“Hopefully, we will expose our products to the international market and to accomplish this goal within the next three years,” he said.
“Export plus online sales now account for about 15 per cent of the company’s total sales. This ratio is expected to increase to 25 per cent by 2020, with the major export markets in focus as China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Greece, and Iraq.”
Gaw said that the company has kept focusing on broadening its reach in the international markets and its plans for the online market have been backed for research for some time. “Owing to the changes in customer behaviour in favour of online business, this phenomenon will help us to expand and quicken our growth in online business tremendously,” Gaw said.
“However, comparisons between the two ratios seems may be premature in terms of reaching a conclusion.
“At the moment, we still emphasise our strength in the retail markets because our Lesasha brand engages so strongly with our customers.
“But we need to accept that the changes in customer behaviour have been particularly stark over the past five years. People are now spending more of their time on their mobiles as they go online all day long. There is no doubt that we, as an investor, a business company, and an entity engaged in the marketing segment, must seek out what our customers really need.”
He said a key factor to be understood in the online market is the impact of reviews of purchased products in real time. “Since online customers can not get a feel of the real product, most of the decision making to buy the product depends upon the information disclosed in the reviews of buyers or users,” Gaw said.
“Online marketing is about the realisation of the perception on reviewed products that can answer every most likely asked question through the reviews of the products in real time.
“The proportion of our business in the online market is approximately 10 per cent, which would definitely grow to 30 per cent in the next three to five years.”
Gaw has outlined three major challenges ahead for the company:
lChanging consumers’ needs and expectations that require more niche marketing and customisation.
lTechnology disruption that changes the retail landscape which requires the company to create a new digital marketing model as well as training staff to be digital-savvy.
lCompetition from new startups, “which requires us to differentiate by demonstrating ourselves as the specialist in areas of our expertise”. There also needs to be a focusing on building a brand that can better serve customers’ unmet needs.
Other challenges include maintaining growth and profitability by being the first to launch innovative beauty gadgets while keeping the entire team motivated.
He said that the overall market of hair-styling equipment in Thailand is worth more than Bt1 billion, and its growth rate is increasing by 5 per cent each year.
“We have set a sales target of 100,000 pieces this year on a new product, Lesasha Brush2Go, as part of our plan to achieve 20 per cent sales growth in 2018,” said Gaw.