Samsung Tweaks Online Strategy
Co to fulfil deliveries via own dealers, brand shops
Kolkata: Samsung India is adopting a hyperlocal strategy for online sales through top marketplaces Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, which will be fulfilled by a dedicated dealer or its own brand shops for each market, people aware of the development said. The smartphone and consumer electronics major at present sells its products through online retailers such as WS Retail on Flipkart and Cloudtail on Amazon. The new strategy is expected to help Samsung ensure online pricing on par with offline stores which would sometimes get impacted due to cash back offers, ensure faster delivery and installation of the products, especially televisions and appliances, and de-risk itself from changes that the latest ecommerce regulation has brought, such as capping of sales by one single seller, four senior industry executives said.
“Samsung is localising ecommerce order delivery, installation and even collection of payment for cash-on-delivery orders through authorised distributors and dealers who will be market specific,” said one of them. An email sent to Samsung India did not elicit any response as of press time on Wednesday.
Industry executives said the Korean giant has already started to rope in trade partners with the entire process getting accelerated after the government notification on ecommerce marketplaces. Samsung will list the sellers on Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal whereby all orders will be routed as per the consumer’s pin code, they said.
Earlier, the firm had formed its brand store in the top three marketplaces and had entered into an agreement with them about price parity in return of exclusive model launches through them. And the seller were primarily WS Retail and Cloudtail. An industry executive said the top smartphone maker will continue exclusive model strategy for ecommerce and will take it to other product categories such as televisions and home appliances since this strategy leads to a spurt in sales.
Pulkit Baid, director at East India’s leading durable retailer Great Eastern, said, “Samsung India has recognised ecommerce as a separate channel and all the efforts in this direction will only ensure control over the trade hygiene.”
Experts said the real test will be in implementing the plan.
“While there may be potential advantages for consumers such as installation, but the real test will be in service delivery and post-delivery issues for which the ecommerce sellers have already built their name,” said Rahul Saigal, MD at digital marketing consultancy Netimpact Solutions. Saigal was chief marketing officer of Samsung India two years back. Samsung India had formed a dedicated team led by veteran executive Asim Warsi to focus on digital sales from this year. This was after the company realised that focusing on ecommerce, launching exclusive models, and ensuring strict pricing norms with offline trade had helped it gain share in the fiercely competitive smartphone market in India by around 9% last year. The parent company last December had announced that it is establishing online operations teams in South Korea and Southwest Asia and also creating dedicated online organisations within key business units. Samsung is the leader in smartphones and flat panel televisions in the Indian market.