Watch out Snapdeal and Flipkart! These shops promise to home-deliver mobile phones in 4 hrs


If you are planning to buy a phone and don’t want to lose on online discounts yet need the device in a few hours – you may now opt for brick and mortar stores over ecommerce portals as mobile phone retailers like The Mobile Store, UniverCell might soon be at your service.

These brick and moratr stores will begin offering guaranteed delivery within four hours of placing the order by a sales executive who will handhold consumers till the new device is fully operational.

Besides selling through their own portals, retailers such as UniverCell and HotSpot are also tying up with price comparison engines such as mysmartprice.com and junglee.com, which will automatically prompt the companies to approach consumers searching for particular smartphones on their sites, the financial daily learnt from industry watchers.

"The online stores have courier guys that deliver, and the person still has issues such as phone book migration and SIM cutting in case the new phone requires an alternate dimension," Alok Gupta, chief executive at The Mobile Store told the ET.

The process would include, company executives contacting consumers over the phone, assisting them in zeroing in on the smartphone they want to buy and deliver it to their home within a few hours from stores in the vicinity. At present, walk in customers account for around 60% of sales at mobile retail chains while the rest comes from shipping or delivery-based sales. Company officials say that ratio of that would invert quickly once customers understand the promise of delivery.

Chennai-based UniverCell plans to offer buyback of an old smartphone in exchange of a new one and finance schemes at your doorstep within a couple of hours of order placement. Gupta of The Mobile Store said the Essar Group firm's sales executives will carry add-on products like protective covers, scratch guards, SIM alteration, and theft or damage insurance, that could be cross sold in bundled packages when they go for delivery. The focus would remain on selling smartphones because although it forms 17% of volume, it accounts for 30% of the revenue.

Mobile retailers hope that this strategy will help them get a slight premium on product prices that can boost their profitability through sales of ancillaries. Mobile phones are among the most sold electronics products in the country's booming online retail space where marketplaces such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon often offer deep discounts to attract consumers, a price traditional retail outlets cannot match due to their higher cost structure.

The Retailers Association of India recently filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, seeking level playing field with online retail on foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, arguing that most online market places are operating just like retailers with their own warehouses and logistics operations. At the same time, traditional retailers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the online space.

(Image: Reuters)
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