It is the season for electronic deep fryers. Touted as devices that require very little oil, sometimes none at all, for preparing Indian delicacies, this product category witnessed its second ad campaign launch in two months.
The product has been launched exclusively on Flipkart.com and Kenstar aims to sell 100,000 units in the first phase of the launch. Oxy Fryer aims at revolutionising healthy cooking by using a simple, yet innovative mechanism, which helps it to fry food with fast circulation of Hot Air. Thus, the food retains most of the nutrients inside. The absence of oil, during frying, further ensures that cholesterol levels are in check.
Arun Pal, COO, small home appliances, Kenstar, says that the product is in its concept sales stage and hence the company has opted for just print ads to announce the launch. Kenstar has also introduced a dedicated website called oxyfryer.com where it has listed all the benefits of using the product as well as some recipes that one can make with this device.
The company, however, doesn't have any plans for TV in the first phase. The campaign is handled by Contract Advertising. Speaking about the association with Khan, Pal states that Bollywood star will play a pivotal role in the brand and product communication across media platforms.
The conscious foodies
Oxy Fryer is targeted at people who love eating fried food. It is touted as the perfect solution to eating fried food in the healthiest manner. Kenstar observed that there has been a surge in demand for appliances that enable healthy and hassle-free cooking. "Food when cooked in Oxy Fryer is healthier compared to the traditional method of frying," informs Pal.
Philips launched its AirFryer at Rs 14,995. But the Oxy Fryer is priced at Rs 7,990. The pricing, as per the company, has also been done keeping the India's price conscious populace in mind. Ramanujam Sridhar, founder and CEO, brand-comm, recalls that Kenstar has always been known for its aggressive pricing. "When they first launched the microwave, they priced it much lower than the usual price tag from other brands. This strategy helped the brand to get to the masses easily. With the Oxy Fryer, they have done the same thing. This is Kenstar's tried and tested way to break into the masses," he adds.
Sridhar feels that Philips' pricing of its AirFryer makes it target a small segment of the health-conscious population that has the spending power. But with such aggressive pricing from Kenstar, the category will definitely become interesting. Ashish Chopra also believes that Philips started the category and now more players will jump on to the bandwagon.
Exclusive is the way?
Philips made its AirFryer available across retail stores and e-commerce sites, but Kenstar's Oxy Fryer is available exclusively on Flipkart.com, nowhere else. The trend of tying up with e-commerce players was started by handset-maker Motorola. Now, brands across categories are cashing in on the wide network and easy access to many customers that e-commerce portals offer. Besides, e-commerce websites welcome such deals as the noise around the partnerships bring in a lot of traffic.
It is largely argued that e-commerce tie-ups are mostly beneficial to brands that don't have a strong distribution network in place as yet. It is understandable when international brands like Motorola or Xiaomi enter such deals, but Kenstar? The brand was launched in India in October 1996 and has since then been sold through its distributors across retail stores. So are they just testing the waters?
Pal disagrees that e-commerce tie-ups are only beneficial to international brands. "Micromax and Karbonn have done the same quite successfully. However, our reason to tie up with Flipkart was different. We want to go mass with this product, especially during its early stages of inception. Today, people come online first to know about the product and do their research. Hence Flipkart was the best choice for us. We have also provided links to demo videos on our Flipkart page as well. As the category evolves, we might follow the traditional distribution route," he states.
Sridhar of brand-comm feels that the strategy of going the online way was logical given that smaller Indian towns have also embraced e-commerce enthusiastically. "Also, it is a easier way to reach young Indians who are best positioned to buy the product," he opines.
The kitchen appliances market in India is worth around Rs 2,500 crore. The last decade in India has seen nuclear families and urban young couples moving towards healthy food options - and taste - and that is exactly why the product category has a huge potential.