Mi­zo­ram: Con­sumer Re­tail Push

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Shar­ing its do­mes­tic bor­ders with Tripura, As­sam, Ma­nipur and in­ter­na­tional ones with Bangladesh and Burma, Mi­zo­ram be­came the 23rd In­dian state on Fe­bru­ary 20, 1987. Adorned with lush veg­e­ta­tion and pic­turesque val­leys and hills, the state fea­tures a prom­i­nent and de­vel­oped tier of chan­nel part­ners con­cen­trated in and around Aizawl, cater­ing re­tail ser­vices to an odd po­ten­tial con­sumer base of 11 lakh peo­ple.

The pop­u­la­tion is drawn and spread on sim­i­lar lines to that of Arun­chal Pradesh; a fully de­vel­oped re­tail seg­ment com­pris­ing 80% of the avail­able chan­nel busi­ness in the state is a dis­tinct ad­van­tage. Fur­ther, the state ben­e­fits from a more ed­u­cated pop­u­lace (Mi­zo­ram has the sec­ond high­est lit­er­acy rate of 91.58% as on 2011) who are in a bet­ter posi- tion in re­gard to tech­ni­cal know-how and price fac­tor.

“We have 37 part­ners in the state, out of which 25 are based out of Aizawl. Hav­ing said that, the chan­nel ecosys­tem is evenly spread in the state but lim­ited to re­tail only,” in­forms John Chetri of The Com­puter Store.

The re­tail seg­ment con­trib­utes to about ` 120 crore an­nu­ally, mak­ing the state the 2nd high­est rev­enue earner from a sin­gle seg­ment in the en­tire north-east re­gion. Be­sides, chan­nel part­ners in the state had a healthy growth rate (al­though lim­ited only to re­tail) at 16% with key em­pha­sis placed on the bot­tom line.

“Ma­jor brands in the main­stream IT seg­ment have per­formed well over the past 2 years with the con­sumer trend ti­tling to­wards mo­bil­ity de­vices. Be­sides, we have a good prod­uct mix in the mar­ket,” Chetri added.

The sec­ond largest seg­ment af­ter re­tail is the state gov­ern­ment that floats ten­ders alike Ma­nipur. Ten­ders are of­ten in the range of ` 5-8 lakh cater­ing to small up­grades or com­put­er­i­za­tion projects in the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tive level, but at times goes up to ` 4.5 crore, like the re­cent ten­der of NCERT. The good part in the state is that for all the ten­ders, whether big or small, the chan­nel part­ners are able to com­pete, al­though at times, with their prin­ci­pals. This fac­tor has, how­ever, led to sup­pli­ers in the gov­ern­ment through prin­ci­pal agen­cies rather than evolv­ing the chan­nels as sys­tem in­te­gra­tors.

How­ever, the lack of both dis­trib­u­tors as well as sub-dis­trib­u­tors is one of the most de­ter-

“We have 37 part­ners in the state, out of which 25 are based out of Aizawl. Hav­ing said that, the chan­nel ecosys­tem is evenly spread in the state but lim­ited to re­tail only,” in­forms John Chetri of The Com­puter Store.

ring fac­tors lead­ing to stag­nancy in chan­nel mo­bil­ity. Dis­trib­u­tors op­er­ate from Guwahati, and lo­gis­tics takes over a week’s time to reach the des­ti­na­tion.

Al­though the con­di­tion of roads in the area is still bet­ter than Andhra Pradesh or Na­ga­land, Mi­zo­ram is still cat­e­go­rized as a re­mote area de­spite its large mar­ket size.

“Roads to Shillong have a four-lane lay­out and are wide enough, which makes lo­gis­tics in Megha­laya smoother. Here, the road con­di­tion is not so good and is quite nar­row at points,” Chetri said.

How­ever, in the busi­ness as­pect, the largest de­ter­ring fac­tor is the lack of proper ser­vice cen­ters in the state which part­ners have termed as ‘just for name­sake’. Ser­vice qual­ity and turn­around time re­mains the pri­mary con­cern for the chan­nel part­ners who com­plained that in some cases it takes over a month to re­place parts or get a new one shipped across.

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