ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s home-grown Meloman company is succeeding despite today’s economic woes because of its core policy of constantly improving its services and treating clients well.
Meloman, established in 1987 in Ust-Kamenogorsk, is a leading Kazakh retailing and distribution company specialising in selling audio, video, books, household goods and repair items, goods for children, art and creative materials and consumer electronics. Today, the company’s key projects are the MARWIN and Meloman chains, Komfort – DIY stores, the Arsenal entertainment centre and the internet retail outlets meloman.kz, komfort.kz, privezi.kz and bilet.meloman.kz. The company also offers tickets for entertainment and sporting events. It now has more than 30 stores across Kazakhstan.
The Astana Times interviewed Meloman Astana Branch Office Director Anna Valentova to learn about their customer retention strategy and projects.
“Our company does colossal work studying consumer demand, as this is one of the successful business components. We are glad to offer a very wide range of products to please sophisticated clients, as we are working under direct contracts and have exclusive goods,” Valentova said.
There are six Meloman shops in Astana, most recently a new store opened at the Sary-Arka mall.
“We are proud that all our goods are certified completely safe and environmentally friendly, as we support a careful procurement approach. Of course, all the economic challenges affect our business. But after the recession, the rise begins. Although we do not sell everyday essentials like bread and milk, people tend to buy more business literature and things for their leisure time,” she said.
“The brand’s mission is strengthening family ties and promoting the intellectual and physical development of children. For example, we offer sets of moulding clay and scrapbooking. … Our kits for scientific experiments like making a model volcano erupt or making robot with solar batteries are especially popular among teenagers,” she said.
According to Valentova, the company’s competitive advantage is to offer a plethora of clothes and toys at affordable prices for all ages, with much attention paid to sports and sports equipment. The staff also organises activities for children every weekend.
“We have an opportunity to showcase our goods. Our staff is mostly young sales managers who really like the things they sell. We want people who come to our store to have a good time. When the product is in the box, the customer doesn’t immediately understand how it works. Our staff do workshops to attract buyers’ attention. They ask whether it is possible to try and this is our main goal – to show how things work,” she said.
The company’s first Booking store opened in Almaty in 2007, the start of a network of book shops across the country.
“We pay special attention to adult creativity. Many people prefer to spend their leisure time pursuing more intellectual interests. Anti-stress colouring books on ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Harry Potter’ are a real trend. We offer professional painting supplies and easels. The first client in a new shop bought Mukhtar Auezov’s book, ‘The Way of Abai.’ It was a significant moment for us. We asked permission to take a photo with this woman and her new book to post on our website, so we were so delighted,” she said.
In 2004, the company presented the first 3D cinema in the capital and got involved in dubbing films into the Kazakh language in 2011. Films dubbed in Kazakh now include “Cars 2,” “Spectrum,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Jungle Book,” “Alice in Wonderland” and others.
“The Kazakh words are longer than Russian and English ones, so editing takes more time. While working on dubbing “Men in Black 3,” we could not find an actor who could keep up with Will Smith’s lines. He speaks too fast. Azamat Kanapiyayev managed to catch his rhythm. The leading actors often choose dubbing artists themselves, so Johnny Depp chose Berik Aitzhanov’s voice for dubbing the main character of ‘The Lone Ranger,’” she said.
Dubbing helps integrate the Kazakh language into the world community, she said.
Personnel is a key part of Meloman’s success, she said. “We have people who like their jobs and want to develop further. There is always an opportunity for career development. The current team in our branch started their careers as sales managers; then they were administrators, and now they are managers. They know all the nuances of sales and products’ characteristics, how to talk with clients and to guess what they want.”
Meloman will turn 30 next year, with celebrations and surprises for customers planned.