Obi Mobile to enter India with multi-channel approach

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: May 31 2014, 19:32pm hrs
Obi mobileObi Mobile CEO Ajay Sharma with former Apple CEO John Sculley. The firm came into limelight for being promoted by Sculley?s Inflexionpoint.
At a time when new players in the Indian smartphone market are opting for and finding success in the e-commerce route, Obi Mobile, which will launch its first devices in the country this June, has decided to take a multi-channel approach.

Ajay Sharma, CEO of the company which came into limelight for being promoted by former Apple CEO John Sculleys Inflexionpoint, told that they would go across channels to sell the new range of phones.

We are talking about pop and mom stores, mobile stores, regional stores and online. We plan to have a larger width of channel and touch all the distribution points available, he said. The strategy is in complete contrast to new players like Motorola and Alcatel which are selling only through e-tailers like Flipkart. We cant afford to pick just one channel. Some specific models could be launched through individual channels later, but not now.

We were first planning to bring in just three devices, but as our launch has got delayed we should be coming in with about 5-6 devices in the R5,000 to R15,000 price bracket. Most of the devices will be priced under R10,000, that is the sweet spot, he said.

Sharma said they are looking at a 360-degree campaign on TV, online and print to make people aware of the brand. We also plan to give the customer an experience at the store level to convert the enquiries into sales, he said, adding that Obi Mobile will, however, have a pan India strategy covering 50 cities initially. The company already has a headstart with distribution as Iris Computers, also owned by Inflexionpoint, has warehouses and offices in 23 Indian cities.

We will not compete on price. What we will offer the customer is a unique looking device with differentiation and we are working with many design houses on the same, he said, adding that user experience will also different.

The company plans to offer stock Android at the entry level, some user interface differentiation at the middle range and a completely different UI at the high end. We are working with companies to offer content on our phones to add value to the user... We really need to help customers access content, added Sharma, who has worked with companies like HTC and Micromax before.

Sharma said Obi Mobile had a target of R1,000 crore turnover in the first year and this can be achieved with the right price and distribution. The company also has plans to enter other emerging markets using India as a base. This is where the immense experience of marketing guru Sculley comes in. He comes with a lot of wisdom as far as marketing is concerned.