comscore At Mobile Store, 30 percent smartphones sold on EMIs
News

At Mobile Store, 30 percent smartphones sold on EMIs

Himanshu Chakrawarty, CEO of The Mobile Store, has a feeling that data bundling does not promise a good Internet experience for customers. In a free-wheeling interview with DNA, he spoke about con

  • Updated: August 6, 2013 12:17 PM IST
Himanshu-Chakrawarty-Mobile-Store-India

Also Read - FIR filed against Twitter India again, now over child pornography content

Himanshu Chakrawarty, CEO of The Mobile Store, has a feeling that data bundling does not promise a good Internet experience for customers. In a free-wheeling interview with DNA, he spoke about consistent innovation, competition from Flipkart and growing popularity of Indian brands, among other things. Excerpts. Also Read - Mi Notebook Pro X to be Xiaomi's most expensive laptop yet, launch tomorrow

With close to 800 stores across the country, we have a 28 percent share of the domestic mobile retail market. We are also the largest sellers of SIM cards, data cards and mobile accessories. We are looking to open 50 Mobile Lounge stores in FY13, although there will be no more new regular Mobile Store branches, as we think smartphones are all about the experience that the Lounge concept offers. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needy

While we suffered with profitability in the first few years, in the last two years, we have been focusing on smartphone growth, from which we have been receiving 90 percent sales in the last three months. India is one of the fastest smartphone growth markets witnessing sales of 2 million a month and 24 million smartphone sales a year compared with 15 million last year. We have also refined our offerings to only GSM phones – almost all of which have 3G capability, as we strongly believe CDMA is a dead technology.

With immense competition from multi-brand retail outlets and original manufacturer experience stores, how has Mobile Store stayed on top?
We have a three-level differentiation, from pre-buying to post-buying that we offer customers. In terms of pre-buying, we aid customers via an efficient call centre and website. We also offer expert advice to customers at the store and allow them to experience the product.

Third, post purchase, we help customers install software and demonstrate the phone’s functionality. This is useful, as across manufacturers, at least 1-2 percent of phones are dead-on-arrival and do not work, in which case they can also be returned to the store within 3-7 days.

Besides, we also offer extended warranty of 1 year, at 2-2.5 percent of the handset cost, as we believe most smartphone issues appear 1 year post purchase, once the phone’s warranty has expired. The Mobile Store also offers after-sales maintenance, free of cost if the handset is bought from the store – and a minimal fee for repairs of handsets bought elsewhere.

What about competition from online marketplaces like Flipkart, Homeshop 18 and Amazon?
While we do not claim to offer the lowest sale price, we do get first preference from wholesalers and distributors for fresh inventory – both at our stores and online portal launched last May. The pricing on our online portal is 3-4 percent lower than that at the Mobile Store, similar to industry offerings. Besides, online handset sales still make up only 10-12 percent of smartphone purchases today. That said, we believe online presence presents a huge opportunity for us, and we receive huge traction on our website, thanks to freshest inventory, brand name, regular promotions and pre-booking. Besides, we also launched the first full-Hindi mobile retail website in June-end and boast of four lakh Facebook fans.

How is your EMI strategy working out? Any plans to start debit card EMIs?
We pioneered with the EMI option for smartphone sales two years ago, which contributes 30 percent to our smartphone sales today, from 2-3 percent when it was introduced. EMI is popular because while the pricing of smartphones are similar worldwide, salaries are varied, and hence, there is a gap between aspiration and affordability, which EMI options help bridge.

While we have tied up with 10 major bands for credit card EMIs, two months ago we launched an EMI scheme for non-credit card holders, where the customer is given the phone purely based on identity proof, an ECS form and a cancelled cheque. Already a sixth of our sales this month in Mumbai are from non-credit card EMI schemes, and we will soon be introducing the scheme in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata also. Debit card EMI option should hopefully be launched by August-end.

So, Samsung is still the hottest-selling smartphone brand..
Yes, Samsung has been the market leader for over a year due to the maximum number of new innovations and handset launches. Apple is the second highest-selling brand. Surprisingly, desi brand Micromax has beaten Nokia to third best-selling smartphone, as it is very popular with the youth, despite a pick-up in Nokia sales in the last six months, thanks to Lumia and Asha versions. BlackBerry, HTC and Sony continue to be in decline, in terms of sales.

What is pushing the popularity of India-made smartphones?
We were late in catching in on the trend towards home-grown brands and started selling local brands like Micromax and Karbonn only a year ago. Indian brands are more affordable and have done a good job in following up innovation by leading brands and offering them at much lower prices. Besides, while Indian brands were only focused on cheap feature phone offerings, now they are all offering quality smartphones, and spending a lot on advertising, which has changed the Indian consumer’s mindset towards Indian brands.

Has handset bundling helped smartphone sales?
No, it hasn’t. This is because handset bundling has not been offered across operators, and besides the after-sales experience in terms of 3G experience and telco call centre issues very disappointing. We thus believe that contrary to popular notion, the market is not driven by data tariff war, as the mobile internet experience is not consistent, as the network is inefficient to support it.

Written by Beryl Menezes. This article first appeared here.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: August 6, 2013 11:55 AM IST
  • Updated Date: August 6, 2013 12:17 PM IST



new arrivals in india

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Tecno Spark 6 Go
Tecno Spark 6 Go

8,499

Vivo V20 2021
Vivo V20 2021

24,990

Vivo Y20A
Vivo Y20A

11,490

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G9 Power
Motorola Moto G9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G 5G
Motorola Moto G 5G

20,999

Vivo V20 Pro
Vivo V20 Pro

29,990

Xiaomi Mi 10T
Xiaomi Mi 10T

35,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9i
Xiaomi Redmi 9i

8,299

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

39,999

Infinix Hot 10
Infinix Hot 10

9,999

Vivo V20 SE
Vivo V20 SE

20,990

Vivo V20
Vivo V20

24,990

Micromax In 1b
Micromax In 1b

6,999

Best Sellers