An Interview with Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager India, SanDisk Corporation

18th December 2014 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |

“SanDisk’s goal is to continue offering consumers high-quality products that help them do more with their digital devices.”

Rajesh-Gupta-Country-Manager-India-SanDisk-CorporationFocused on delivering high-quality products that enrich consumer’s lives. SanDisk India has evolved to be the leading flash memory brand in India. As NAND flash memory is increasingly being used in a broad array of consumer and enterprise products, the company to has sharpened its strategy to help users do more with their digital devices.

The man at the helm of the SanDisk success story, Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager India, SanDisk Corporation oversees the retail sales and marketing of memory cards, USB and SSD products, leveraging a robust distribution channel across India. An Industry veteran, Rajesh is responsible for steering SanDisk’s growth, while strengthening its sales and marketing infrastructure.

Before taking charge as Country Manager, Gupta was the director of sales for SanDisk in India. As director of sales for SanDisk, he played a key role in building a robust organization that made SanDisk the No. 1 flash memory brand in India. Prior to SanDisk, he served for 15 years at Intel Corporation. In his last stint at Intel, he was director of sales and marketing.

With over two decades of proven sales and marketing success, Rajesh is known to be a distinguished leader in the IT industry. In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now, Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager India, SanDisk Corporation bares open his business priorities, vision, strategy and commitments for the Indian Market. Edited Excerpts…

Q 1. As a leading provider of high-performance memory products, what kind of distribution model you adopt in India?

A1. SanDisk has four national distributors across the country. SanDisk’s products are sold across 400+ cities in India through a network of 2000+ dealers. SanDisk has strong presence in major large format retail chainsacross the country and is prominent in all the major e-stores.

Q 2. What is the USP of your products? How do you manage to maintain growth in face of stiff competition in the space where you are?

A2. SanDisk is a global leader in flash storage solutions, and the brand stands for products with cutting edge technology, quality, reliability and trust. Our product portfolio addresses all market segments – from mobile phones and cameras to notebooks and tablets – and caters to demands from entry-level to professional users. With SanDisk flash storage products, consumers can preserve their memories with confidence.

SanDisk is a vertically integrated global flash memory manufacturer. Being ahead of the curve has always been a key component of SanDisk’s strategy. SanDisk’s goal is to continue offering consumers high-quality products that help them do more with their digital devices. Accordingly, we intend to continue developing products to lead the flash memory storage solutions market. SanDisk is qualified with 6 of the top 7 storage OEMs and all leading handset and tablet manufacturers use SanDisk.

For more than 25 years, SanDisk has been committed to delivering breakthrough technologies that expand the possibilities of storage.

Q 3. Which one would you credit the most for the kind of success that SanDisk has reaped so far – Superior product quality, wide product range, robust support service or strong channel network?

A3. We at SanDisk believe that our growth in India is a result of all the elements – reliable products that consumers can trust which come in a wide range to meet all storage needs of today’s host devices, robust support service and a strong channel network across the country.

Ourproduct portfolioincludes mobile, computing and imaging products. For SanDisk, channel partners have always played an important role and we value their partnership and contribution for our success. We constantly engage with them in creating awareness about these products and the benefits offered by flash memory as we move towards an increasingly digitized way of life.

We have invested in building SanDisk’s retail presence in a growing number of key cities and urban centers and are leveraging the growth of the consumer electronics products such as digital cameras, computers, notebooks/laptops, tablets and mobile phones. SanDisk has a world-class customer support operations team. The range of support extends beyond just the basic customer service to technical support, high-traffic online support and return merchandise authorization.

Q 4. Which product category is the highest grosser in India for SanDisk? Any product you would like to mention as a unique product from SanDisk stable?

A4.Smartphones and tablets represent two of the biggest opportunities for SanDisk. Flash memory is a key enabler of small, thin, high-performance mobile devices, and SanDisk develops embedded and removable solutions for all leading smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

This year, we launched SanDisk Ultra® Dual USB Drive and two leadership products in Imaging and microSD category.

SanDisk UltraDual USB Drive: Using the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive, you can easily move files from your Android™ smartphone or tablet to your computer, freeing up space for music, photos, or HD videos. The drive has a micro-USB connector on one end and a USB 2.0 connector on the other, making file transfers a breeze, and it can store up to 64GB of data. The SanDisk Memory Zone app, available through Google Play™, allows you to manage, organize, and back up files.

• Allows you to transfer files from an Android smartphone or tablet to your PC or Mac computer
• Micro-USB connector on one side and USB 2.0 connector on the other
• Data storage capacity of up to 64GB
• SanDisk Memory Zone app enables you to organize and back up files
• USB drive is automatically detected when used with compatible devices
• Available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card 512GB
This is our most powerful and highest capacity SD UHS-I memory card to date, with write speeds up to 90 MB/s and recording at the UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) rating1 for high resolution, real-world colour and stutter-free video from your DSLR, advanced digital or HD video camera. Transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s move your data fast for efficient post-production workflow.

The new 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160p)2 upgrades the quality of the video you shoot and view. Capturing it without interruption requires significantly greater speed and higher storage capacity than previous generations of imaging cards provide. Our 512GB SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXCTM card delivers both the speed and storage capacity you need to make the video you shoot today ready for the newest 4K Ultra HD TVs and monitors.
This is the card for professionals who want to capture 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160p) video2 for the latest high-end TVs and monitors.

SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC UHS-I Card
These cards now come with up to 64GB of storage for uncompromising smartphone, tablet and camera performance. Capture 4K Ultra HD and Full HD videos and enjoy transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s so you can shoot like a pro and still experience world-class responsiveness from your phone. Class 10 and UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) ratings mean your videos can meet today’s highest resolution standards and will look stunning on the latest 4K Ultra HD TV screens and monitors. Generous storage capacities of up to 64GB mean you won’t run out of the memory you need to work, shoot and share.
SanDisk Extreme PRO microSD UHS-I Memory Cards are waterproof, shock proof, x-ray proof and temperature proof to protect your memories from life’s mishaps. Take your phone or tablet to the snow, to the pool or to the desert. Your card will survive, even if your device doesn’t.

Q5. As a leading memory brand, what major trends do you see in the memory product space in the Indian market now?

A5. The size of the flash memory market is strongly determined by the buoyancy in the host device market and the digital lifestyle of the Indian consumer. India is doing very well on both the counts. The host-device market – be it mobile phones, tablets, cameras and computing devices – is on a strong growth path. A lot of today’s gadgets are hi-tech and memory-intensive, which fuels growth and with the growing amount of digital data and increased need for mobility in our daily lives the demand for flash based storage devices is ever-increasing.

For the smartphone and tablet markets, we believe that flash will continue to play a critical role in consumers being able to leverage smaller and lighter mobile devices with greater storage capacity. For the PC market, the percent of penetration of flash-based SSDs is rising in the mainstream laptops and ultra-books and we see a large installed base of laptops and desktops as a potential upgrade opportunity with SSD technology. For the retail market, we will continue to drive the adoption of High Capacity (greater than 16GB) and High Performance solutions.

Mobile computing should continue to grow as one of the most popular applications as consumers demand anywhere, anytime access to their digital content. SanDisk is well positioned to serve this large and growing market.

Q 6. Service support is considered the bedrock of success for any business. What kind of Service support SanDisk provides to its users?

A6.With the advancement of today’s technology, customers expect and highly value efficient service and personalized cross-channel engagement. To meet the needs of a rapidly expanding global customer base, SanDisk integrated its existing customer service channels like Knowledge Base, Live Chat, and Social Media Monitoring within the company’s CRM. SanDisk also expanded to new channels, such as chat and SMS, to improve visibility and enhance the overall customer experience. SanDisk has a Toll Free tech support number1800-102-2055and an email id to make it easy for consumers to access our support staff to seek post-sales support and services.

As a result, SanDisk increased average retail customer satisfaction scores from 89 percent to 94.5 percent and improved engagement by 17 percent year over year.

Our customer service has been widely recognized. Earlier this year, SanDisk was named a Gold winner of the 2014 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Award for its overall excellence in enhancing customer experience and taking a customer-centric approach to improving business performance.

Q 7. Any promotional activities adopted by SanDisk?

A7. SanDisk was recently concluded a festive promotion campaign in India – ‘Shop n Win’ – from August 28 – November 2, 2014 where consumers got the chance to win one Nexus Tab daily with the purchase of select SanDisk products. There was also the ‘Register and Win’ lucky-draw, with 10 Cruzer Force™ USB Flash drives up for grabs every day. The campaign received tremendous response from consumers pan India and the lucky winners received Nexus Tab from SanDisk.

On the social media front, SanDisk has been very regular in engaging with its consumers online. SanDisk took its new brand campaign – Telling Life’s Stories from Memory.Trusting it to SanDisk – to the online audience through an interesting contest.A four-week contest was executed in June/ July 2014 in which the audience was invited to submit a picture alongwith a caption. Each week a winner was selected by the SanDisk Extreme Team photographers, Akash Das and KaustavSaikia. The winning prize was a Nikon D5300 DSLR camera.

Q8. What is your key market strategy in India? Where would you like to see SanDisk five years hence?

A8.India is an important market for flash memory storage solutions and has witnessed rapid adoption of consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, ultra-books, digital cameras and personal computers. The explosion of digital content is driving the need for more memory, and SanDisk is well positioned to serve the large, fast-paced Indian market.

SanDisk growth in India is built on strong business foundation. As mentioned earlier, we have established a strong distribution for traditional and non-traditional retail. The retail network is supported by a pan India customer support infrastructure. That said, we have invested heavily in brand building to establish clear brand preference for SanDisk in India. SanDisk launched its first ever TV campaign in India in 2011. We now have a strong presence in web and mobile.

The brand has a significant focus on the channel partners. Channel engagements, product trainings, and loyalty programme are some of the key initiatives implemented through an ecosystem of agencies and retail officers. We are actively pursuing geo expansion programme to build our reach outside of metro cities. As mentioned earlier, SanDisk’s products are sold across 400+ cities in India through a network of 2000+ dealers.

SanDisk is the retail market leader in flash memory cards and USB flash drives in APAC. For more than 25 years, SanDisk has been committed to delivering breakthrough technologies that expand the possibilities of storage. We would like our legacy to continue in the years to come.

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