“Godrej Appliances has always been particular about its philosophy of customer centricity”: Swati Rathi

“Godrej Appliances has always been particular about its philosophy of customer centricity”: Swati Rathi

The event took place at Four Seasons Hotel, Worli on 27 February 2024.


Mumbai: Godrej Appliances has unveiled its latest innovation: Eon Vogue. This new series of home appliances, featuring nature-inspired wood-finish designs, has marked a significant stride in merging aesthetics with functionality.

The launch was unveiled at Four Seasons Hotel, Worli on 27 February 2024 by Godrej Appliances business head Kamal Nandi along with marketing head Swati Rathi, Godrej Appliances head of design Kamal Pandit and India Circus founder and design director Krsnaa Mehta.

The Eon Vogue range boasts advanced refrigerators and air conditioners that seamlessly integrate into contemporary Indian home décor, giving it a touch of nature. Each appliance offers a unique blend of style and technology, enhancing the ambiance of living spaces while providing exceptional performance.

In a recent survey conducted by Godrej Appliances, insights into the preferences of Indian households shed light on a growing demand for appliances that align with their home décor. Over 70 per cent of respondents expressed a desire for a broader selection of appliances that better suit their living spaces. This underscores a shift towards a more holistic approach to home design, where every element contributes to a cohesive aesthetic.

Indiantelevision.com at the sidelines of the event, caught up with Godrej Appliances marketing head Swati Rathi, where she unveiled the inception of their product launch. From the genesis of the idea to its execution, Rathi shed light on the journey behind this endeavor.

Edited excerpts

On the inspiration to develop this new product

Like we said a couple of things, if you look at the cities, its changing. Even in tier two cities instead of independent houses, it's becoming more multistoried complex. People are getting distanced from their natural environment. So that was one. If you look at consumer homes, everything is warm and aesthetic. Even the light and the paint has become warm whites instead of cold, various appliances are still in that whole space. From fans, to speakers to sinks and bathutbs, everything is driven by aesthetics. But that shift in aesthetic system did not happen in appliances because 30 years back. With young consumers buying homes, they are investing so much in design and decor so we thought there was this gap which no one has failed. At Godrej, we take great pride in being able to pinpoint these gaps from time to time and fulfill them. That's what we've done with true commitment to “Soch ke Banaya” philosophy. We decided to get these nature inspired natural finishes in our products and wooden in particular because if we look at the survey as well, 50 per cent to 80 per cent Indian homes actually have wooden furnishings. 80 per cent in living rooms and 50 per cent in kitchens. 25 per cent in Indian homes have fridges in the living rooms. So it made a lot of sense to give them wooden finishes in multiple shades, which would really go well with the home. So that's what's really been the whole story behind it.

On the specific market research incorporated to this development

Every year we run a brand track. We understand what the consumer is looking at. We understand that aesthetics is becoming increasingly important right now. Consumer will never come and say “I want this”. Consumer will however show demonstrate by his behaviour. Whenever we launch a beautiful aesthetic product, we've seen the kind of reaction and how it's changed the shares in that segment. So clearly, aesthetics is important. Then we did a lot of surveying and talking with the furniture industry and the decor industry. That's where we picked up these insights. When consumers come in, they spend so much time figuring out everything, from the wallpaper, to the floor, to the curtain to everything. But when it comes to appliances, they're like I have to choose between these. Now I have to do this or okay let me now try and match everything else to this. But when you have only so many choices to begin with, it's a big restriction. It was a mix of qual and quant and that's how we realised that this is possibly a need gap.

On the unfiltered consumer reaction video that you captured

The idea really came because we had a trade launch. We were about to show these products to our trade. We thought before we show it to our trade, it's important that we also validate with our consumers and give that confidence back to our trade partners. Because its something that's completely new, right? You would want to understand more how consumers react. We know we are fairly confident that what we've done is good, but it's still important to get that consumer validation. So we decided to, instead of a typical survey where we showcase the product, we wanted to give them a store experience. We lined up the products exactly like how they would see in a store. You come to a store, you see an aisle of air conditioners, you see an aisle of refrigerators, you walk through a complete lineup of them. We just placed these two refrigerators and the reaction was completely unfiltered. They had no clue. All we said was we want younger consumers because that's what this whole product is catering to. And we said let's potential consumers in this age group with this kind of profile. We said, we just want some time, we call them over and what you saw was just immediate reactions epic capture.

On the collaboration with Krsnaa Mehta

Krsnaa Mehta's role essentially was after the products were designed. We went to him. The design of the product is in-house if we didn't go into appliances, but we went to him because we felt that he bought these great looking products. It's something new and consumers while it will blend in with whatever they have, but how do we help them take it a notch above? So you're giving them great looking products? But can you help them? Imagine what else can they do in that space to really make it far more useful almost like those Pinterest homes that consumers look at, but they don't know how to create it. So that's what the whole collaboration was about. He created all these designs, in which we will now take those designs into our catalogs, into the stores and use them as aides for consumers to help them imagine how their homes could look like.

The second thing is India Circus offerings are very nature inspired. We approached them and we said, let's come together and we selected certain accessories. For example cushions whether in the bedroom or in the living room, wherever you put the air conditioner, you do tend to have all these upholstery and cushions, etc. The idea is don't just have a beautiful wooden machine on top but can you get that same nature, inspiration even around the product when you open the refrigerator? Can you carry that nature inspired philosophy inside, so you have this fridge where, which is also nature inspired? And that's where the whole thing came along.

On this product launch aligning with Godrej's vision for the future

So Godrej appliances has always been very particular about its philosophy of customer centricity and it's not that we are doing it now or started doing it today. It's been there forever. We were the first to launch Indian manufacturer refrigerators in the country. We went ahead and launched color refrigerators in the country. We experimented with multiple sizes and got people to evolve. In the green space, there have been a lot of firsts. Last year, we launched the dark edition, which was again a game changer in the way things were displayed in the stores and was received very well. Whether in terms of functionality, for example, the anti leak ACs, which fix a particular need gap. So how do we fix the leaking ACs? Because in so many years of air conditioners, that's not being fixed by any brand. Every time we spot a need gap, we try and fix it and I think that's what we are and that's what our DNA is. Aesthetics, in times to come will continue to play a bigger role. I think six months down the line one year down the line, you will have a lot more coming from it.

On aesthetics mattering back in the old days and its role in today's age

In sea of whites, I think it might have mattered, but consumers didn't really have enough choice also. I think the ownership of homes is one very interesting statistic that we saw today was how the age of homeowners is coming down. Earlier people used to buy their homes after they retired or close to their retirement, it took them so long to buy a home. Whereas today, thanks to home loans and increasing disposable income, the younger generation is also able to buy earlier in their life. When a younger person is able to buy a home, they're calling friends or they want their homes to look a particular way. People are paying attention to which was not the case earlier. So things have changed.