Handset Makers Bank On Offline Channel To Boost Sales

Offline Channel

The stiff competition in the smartphone market and the government mulling control over discounting practices of e-commerce companies are prompting handset makers to focus on offline channel strategies. While the online marketplace remains the first choice of smartphone makers, the vendors are now [also] focusing on the brick and mortal to generate demand from the upcountry market.

Handset makers are engaging with offline channels to push the products and exploring various ways to engage with customers. To reach out to the masses this festive season, Chinese smartphone maker Lenovo has announced to offer discounts on existing models sold offline. The company has cleared that it will not drop down the prices of its popular models. The discount will be offered in the form of cashback and buybacks.

“We continue to strive towards catering to multiple channels across the country, both online and offline. We don’t want to miss any opportunity hence we brought out smartphones for all types of users this year,” Lenovo India marketing head Anuj Sharma quoted as saying, on the sidelines of the launch of the Z2 Plus on Thursday.

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According to IDC’s estimates, Lenovo and Motorola combine own market share of 11.6 per cent in the smartphone segment. The company will look at introducing new models across various prices to gain a larger share of the market, continuing the model it has adopted here so far. It will look at introducing 10-15 products by the end of the year. Lenovo will introduce a new model, Moto Z, early next month.

Lenovo has also announced to open about 50 exclusive service centres by March in over 60 towns in the country that jointly account for 80 percent of its customer base. Out of 150 stores, 100 service centers will be opened by October this year.

Lenovo is not the only brand who is betting big on the offline sales model. Vendors such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, LeEco and InFocus who launch their latest offerings exclusively on E Commerce sites, have also hinted to accelerate their focus in the offline space. These vendors are also exploring ideas for having a full-fledged offline channel model instead of relying only on the E Commerce.

Xiaomi has appointed Redington as its distributor to offer its smartphones in brick-and-mortar stores in the offline retail. Chinese brand LeEco is reportedly planning to set up 4-5 flagship experience stores and about 100 exclusive outlets, whereas InFocus wants to double its existing offline store presence.

Brick-and-mortar cellphone retail lobby All India Mobile Retailers Association has welcomed the move of the smartphone vendors. The body feels that the move will create offline channel loyalty and bring back the substantial smartphone business to the offline channel.

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