Nokia India, in association with Indiatimes Shopping, has announced the launch of Nokia’s online store, NokiaShop, a shopping portal that would deliver mobile devices directly from the manufacturer to the users, without any dealer or reseller in between. This is an ‘investment’ that Nokia is indulging in to tap the potent e-commerce market. Nokia Shop will offer the entire portfolio of Nokia devices as well as accessories across price points to the consumers.
Commenting on the portal, Viral Oza, Director - Marketing, Nokia India, said, “Young Indians are not only spending time online, but are comparing and shopping online as well. We see this as a huge opportunity. Today it may be small, but we see it becoming a big space. We want to start engaging with consumers and understanding consumer behaviour online. By the time it becomes bigger, we would have established ourselves.”
Nokia is looking at going aggressively after the online market. It has a market share of around 40 per cent in the mobile handset market offline. It wants to replicate that online through a structured channel, which is being provided by indiatimes.
Despite growing number of online shoppers, e-commerce in the country is still in its nascent stage. According to Gautam Sinha, Director - Technology & Business Head - Ecommerce, Indiatimes Shopping, “There is a growing number of consumers who are trying to adapt e-commerce right now. A bulk of the population is still not there. They have reservations in terms of product, payment, and the genuineness of the product. By association of two brands (Nokia and Indiatimes), we are hoping to make that easier.”
With this initiative, Indiatimes aims to strengthen the supply chain. Significant investments have been made in warehousing and last mile delivery so that the ordered phone could be delivered within 72 hours.
In a bid to engage the consumers, the online shop is being promoted in print and on radio. A TVC is slated to break in eight weeks’ time. The focus was on driving transactions and enhancing the entire buying experience online, Sinha said. So far, the promotions are being handled by an in-house team. Oza said, “We have a large fan base on social media. It is this presence that we’ll be leveraging to offer the link to consumers.”
NokiaShop is offering consumers various payment options such as cash on delivery, debit and credit cards, and three and six month EMIs on pre-paid transactions. Further, Indiatimes is developing a network of warehouses in multiple geographies, and is promising to deliver orders within three days in metros and mini-metros.
Indiatimes is hopeful that this association will give a boost to sales of products in other categories as well. Sinha remarked, “If you are able to convince customers with your payment mechanism and trust in the brand to transact once, the rub-off happens in all other categories that you provide.” Apart from this association, Indiatimes has 7-8 more such relationships in the pipeline and aims to take the number up to around 50.
Quoting Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) numbers, Sinha said that India’s e-commerce market stood at Rs 64,000 crore. He further said that a business of Rs 170 crore was being looked at in the first year at NokiaShop and thereafter a year-on-year growth of 70 per cent.
With the touch and feel of the products missing online, consumers tend to take up the behaviour of buying offline. However, Sinha felt, “For a category like mobile phones, consumers might go offline, touch it there and buy it online. Thus, Nokia stores also play an important role in the promoting online sales.” This apart, the online content was being made rich and more interactive.
When quizzed about the consumer behaviour of viewing online and buying offline, Oza said, “We believe that we can change this over a period of time. Our philosophy is to invest in the future.”
Given the potential of the e-commerce industry, Indiatimes and Nokia are confident of high growth in the mobile phone category within the next two quarters.
(With additional inputs by Shanta Saikia)