“Acceptability of Indian brands has gone down in above-5k range smartphones segment”

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Q. Please brief us about your company, the brands & products you distribute?

A. We have two distribution verticals in Siliguri–one is Shaurya Distributors and the other is TeleTech International with each vertical handling 2 brands. We are into Distribution of mobile phones of Intex, Ziox and I-Smart; and tablets of Datawind. For Intex and Ziox, we are catering only to the local market of Siliguri (West Bengal) and the surrounding areas, but for I-Smart mobiles phones and Datawind tablets, we are distributing across 7 districts of West Bengal. We are not dealing in accessories at present.

Q. What are the latest trends in the mobile phone market and how are you dealing with these trends and how the online sales are affecting you?

A. As far as the market trends are concerned, there is a huge demand for 3G handsets since the mobile operators are offering a lot of discounts and cheap data plans on 3G network. After demonetization, the market has slowed down due cash crunch with customers, which has negatively impacted us a lot. We are focusing more on those brands and products aimed at the Rs 3000-6000 (mid-segment) and also focusing on feature phones. Acceptability of Indian brands has gone down in smartphones in the above-5k range segment. The online business has been affecting our sales as the mid-segment 8-15k phones have vanished from the general trade. Brands like Mi, Lenovo and Motorola have gained monopoly over this segment. We hope the government will come up with a policy that will change the situation.

Q. What differentiates you from your competitors and what are your merits (USPs)?       How do you motivate your downline partners?

A. We always maintain the clarity of accounts, settle claims in a timely manner and make sure that all entries in ledgers are kept up-to-date, which our dealers and distributors to manage their accounts better and trust us. We work on a pre-fixed margin with our dealers and distributors and ensure that all the schemes and incentives are conveyed and passed on in a very transparent manner.

Q. Today, service is very important. Please explain your views on the importance of service and tell us how you provide service–through the vendor or yourself or a through a third party. 

A. Yes, service is the backbone of a successful distribution company and we are very much conscious about it. But replacement warranty policy for smarphones has big problem as it needs a different infrastructure and the replacement usually takes 10-15 days with which the customer is not happy and he expects replacement on the same day, as the way brands advertise. The best approach is to assure the service within a short timeframe which is good for both, the customer and the company.

Q. What is your company’s present growth rate and your future plans and where do you want to be in the coming 3 years?

A. To be frank, our growth is stagnant at the moment. We are negotiating with a Chinese mobile brand with whom the deal is close to finalization, and we intend to cover a larger geographical area for this brand. This new along with our new plans in line, we are looking forward to an annual growth rate of 60% over the coming 3 years. We believe in sustainable growth based on transparency and fair practices.