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Elevating Audio Experience: Varun Poddar Discusses GOVO’s Soundbar Innovations

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In an exclusive interview, DeviceNext had the opportunity to speak with Varun Poddar, the innovative Co-founder of GOVO, a company that is rapidly making its mark in the audio technology sector. During our conversation, Varun shared insights into the inception of GOVO, its strategic growth plans, and the technological advancements driving the brand forward. With a keen focus on delivering value for money and incorporating cutting-edge AI technology into their products, GOVO is set to redefine the audio experience for the Indian market.

Could you elaborate on how GOVO was founded and share your insights regarding the growth and potential of India’s soundbar market?

GOVO was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, about two years ago, when increased home content consumption highlighted a lack of affordable, high-quality soundbar options in the market. This gap inspired us to create our brand, aiming to enhance the TV-watching experience with cutting-edge global technologies at accessible prices for Indian consumers.

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Since our inception, GOVO has experienced rapid growth, expanding over sevenfold in the past year alone. Looking ahead, we are poised to sustain this momentum. The potential in India’s soundbar market is substantial; annually, 2.5 crore TVs are sold, yet soundbar sales range from 10 to 50 lakh units. As awareness grows about the superior audio quality of soundbars, adoption rates are rising, driven by firsthand experiences in social circles.

Currently, the soundbar market grows annually by over 30%, a trend we expect to persist or accelerate over the next decade. Notably, this growth isn’t just in volume but also in premium offerings. Similar to the evolution in TV sizes, consumers are upgrading from basic to advanced soundbar models to achieve richer audio experiences. This trend of premiumization informs our strategic focus and product innovation at GOVO.

Can you elaborate on GOVO’s brand philosophy? Are you targeting the budget market or also catering to the premium segment?

GOVO’s market strategy is driven by customer preferences. We offer soundbars ranging from 4,000 to 15,000 rupees and are preparing to launch models priced up to 40,000 to 50,000 rupees. We don’t label ourselves as an affordable brand; instead, we focus on providing value for money at every price point. Whether it’s a 4,000-rupee soundbar or a 50,000-rupee model, our goal is for customers to see the value in their purchase. Indian consumers today seek value for money rather than just the cheapest option, and we aim to meet this demand by offering quality products across various price points.

How do you approach design, given that many soundbars appear similar across brands?

Regarding design, we invest considerable time in incorporating innovative design technologies alongside advanced sound technologies. For instance, we were the first in India to launch a soundbar integrated with LED lights. This feature enhances the overall experience, whether you’re watching a movie or a cricket match at home, by adding an audio-visual impact. A soundbar should not just be a functional box producing sound; it should blend seamlessly into your living space and reflect your personal style and design sense. Therefore, we place a strong emphasis on creating aesthetically pleasing products that resonate with the preferences of our young and modern audience.

What is GOVO’s marketing strategy? Are you focusing on an omnichannel approach or specific channels, especially considering we are a B2B platform?

GOVO’s marketing strategy revolves around meeting customer preferences and behaviors. Our customer base consists of two primary segments: those who research online and purchase offline, and those who browse in physical stores but buy online. To cater to these diverse journeys, we maintain a presence across both online and offline channels.

We embrace an omnichannel approach to ensure accessibility wherever our customers engage with us, maximizing touchpoints and offering a seamless shopping experience.

Our most successful marketing strategy is word of mouth. By prioritizing product quality and delivering a sound signature that resonates with our audience, we encourage satisfied customers to advocate for us among their social circles. This organic promotion has proven pivotal in driving our brand’s growth.

Do you have specific targets for 2024 in terms of sales volume?

We have set an ambitious target for FY 25, aiming for around 200 crore rupees in revenue. This goal represents a 2x to 3x growth compared to last year. Our confidence in achieving this target is bolstered by the new premium products we are launching, including advanced 5.1 soundbars powered by Dolby Atmos technology. We are aligning our product offerings with customer preferences and market growth trends, which gives us a strong foundation for reaching this ambitious target.

To wrap up, what are your thoughts on AI technology and its impact on the audio sector?

AI technology is significantly enhancing our audio devices, particularly in personal audio. For instance, we have products that use AI to suppress background noise. This feature is especially useful for users in high-traffic areas or office environments who are using neckbands or earbuds. The AI system detects and suppresses background noise, allowing the person on the other end of the call to hear your voice more clearly.

Another AI technology we are incorporating is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). This technology is designed to improve the user’s experience by suppressing background sounds while they are consuming content on their device. Unlike the previous technology, which benefits the receiver, ANC benefits the user directly by providing a more immersive listening experience. AI’s integration into our products is transforming how users interact with and experience audio, making it a pivotal aspect of our innovation strategy.

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