In an exclusive interview, Tarun Gupta, the driving force behind BOULT as its Co-founder, offers a profound insight into the brand’s strategic vision and its trajectory toward global expansion. Sharing a unique perspective, Gupta delves into BOULT’s journey—a narrative interwoven with strategic maneuvers, notably the recent shift from online dominance to a robust offline presence. This strategic pivot, spearheaded by Gupta, signifies a significant progression from direct-to-consumer dominance to a broader market approach. He provides valuable insights into the brand’s strategy, which revolves around superior quality, compelling branding, and an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences—elements crucial in establishing BOULT’s global footprint. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
What’s your vision for BOULT’s future, and how do you see the brand evolving in the coming years?
Our vision is to establish Boult on a global scale. The brand’s growth strategy is somewhat distinct from the norm. While some brands, when they reach a certain ceiling, expand horizontally into a wide range of product categories, we want to remain focused on the two categories we’ve already launched: audio and smartwatches.
Talking about the products, we design them in-house using industrial design and 3D printing. There is extensive R&D on hardware and software when developing new products. We use automation, systems, and software for production planning and efficiency. We are training teams on AI to stay ahead of the curve. Overall, we utilize analytics tools, ERP software, and more to manage our digital business. Overall, we believe technology is a key enabler across the organization and will help us eventually.
How does BOULT differentiate itself in the crowded smart wearables market and stay relevant to its target audience?
Competition exists in every consumer product category. We stand out through our superior product design. Our product quality is credited with 4+ star ratings and 2 million reviews. We offer value-conscious pricing. And we innovate rapidly, doing 30+ new product launches per year to stay relevant. It comes down to design, quality, and innovation that keep us ahead.
What are your plans for expanding BOULT’s offline presence, and what’s driving this shift to traditional channels from leading the D2C space?
After six years of focusing 100% on the online channel, where 85% of the sales come from e-commerce platforms, we expanded into the offline market last month. We have already partnered with retailers in 13 states, and by the end of the year, we will have a presence in 100 cities across 3000 stores in every state. I am personally leading the offline sales, partnerships, scaling, marketing, distribution, and customer satisfaction efforts. Here we have prioritized South and West India for initial offline expansion, given the organized retail landscape.
How do you plan to incorporate emerging trends like smart rings, AI assistants, and IoT devices into BOULT’s product lineup, and what potential do you see for these technologies in shaping the future of wearable tech?
I’m excited to explore the potential of emerging trends like smart rings, AI assistants, and IoT devices in shaping the future of wearable tech. We believe that these technologies have the ability to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us, and we’re committed to incorporating them into our product lineup in a way that is both innovative and user-friendly.
In the long-term game plan, we will create a seamless ecosystem for its products by offering a unified app that connects smartwatches and headphones, providing customers with a cohesive user experience. The Internet of Things (IoT) will play a large role. While we are not immediately planning to expand our product categories beyond audio and smartwatches, with the same mobility, we would love to build some bigger products.
Can you share details about BOULT’s upcoming product launches and expansion strategies?
We’re excited to unveil a range of cutting-edge audio and wearable products, including next-generation earbuds, health-focused smartwatches, and immersive audio accessories. Our domestic expansion will see new retail stores across India, while internationally, we’re targeting North America and Europe.
In light of the increasingly shorter lifespan of smart wearables and hearables due to rapid consumer upgrades to new features, could you share if BOULT has any sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing e-waste?
We recognize that the increasing frequency of consumer upgrades for smart wearables and hearables contributes significantly to e-waste generation. To mitigate this impact, BOULT has implemented a comprehensive sustainability strategy focused on reducing e-waste, improving packaging practices, and promoting eco-friendly design principles.
A key aspect of our sustainability strategy is our partnership with M/S E-WASTE RECYCLERS INDIA, a leading e-waste management company in India. Through this collaboration, we have established a nationwide collection and disposal system for all our e-waste. This ensures that our electronic products are responsibly recycled, and their valuable components are reused, preventing them from entering landfills and contributing to environmental pollution.
We recognize the significant environmental impact of packaging materials and have taken proactive measures to reduce our reliance on plastics. We have replaced non-recyclable plastic packaging with recycled cardboard boxes, a sustainable alternative that supports the circular economy and minimizes waste generation. Cello tape is notoriously difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfills. We have replaced cello tape with eco-friendly paper tape, making our packaging more recyclable and environmentally friendly. Bubble wrap is a significant source of single-use plastic waste. We have phased out bubble wrap and replaced it with paper-based packaging solutions that provide adequate protection while reducing our plastic footprint. We have also eliminated single-use plastic outer packaging from our products, such as plastic covers or wrappers. Instead, we use paper-based or biodegradable materials that are more sustainable and can be easily recycled.
We prioritize durability in our product design, aiming to create products that last longer and require fewer replacements, thereby reducing the overall environmental impact. These sustainability initiatives demonstrate BOULT’s unwavering commitment to reducing e-waste and promoting a more sustainable future for the wearable tech industry. We are committed to continuous improvement and will continue to explore innovative solutions to minimize our environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.
After entering the UK market, what other global markets is BOULT planning to expand into, and how are you preparing to become a global brand?
We see a significant opportunity on a global scale. The goal is to occupy the gap between Chinese and American/ German brands globally. We believe we can effectively occupy this space by offering high-quality products, a strong brand identity, effective advertising, compelling content, reliable products, attractive packaging, and a stellar customer experience, all at a more competitive pricing point compared to the premium and luxury brands.
What consumer and technology trends do you anticipate will shape the smart consumer gadgets market in the upcoming year of 2024?
Several significant trends will shape the market in 2024. Firstly, artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be a driving force, making smart gadgets smarter and more intuitive. AI-powered personalization will enable devices to adapt to users’ preferences and needs, enhancing the overall user experience. With the widespread adoption of 5G technology, faster and more reliable connectivity will open new possibilities, such as seamless IoT integration and real-time data sharing. Health and wellness features will become more advanced, with gadgets offering robust fitness tracking and health monitoring capabilities. Privacy and security will be paramount as consumers demand stronger data protection measures.
Overall, wearable technology will further blur the line between fashion and technology, providing immersive and flexible experiences.