Apple's former India head has launched a social network that doubles up as an online marketplace for mobile retailers
- Apple's former country manager of India, Sanjay Kaul, is launching a social network for mobile retailers in partnership with
Mukesh Kachroo, the former Chief Technology Officer at Gain Capital Group.
- The aim to get all the stakeholders in the smartphone ecosystem on one platform to streamline communication.
- Kaul says Sofyx is attempting to solve one of the problems that he noticed during his time with Apple and Blackberry — that retailers in India's unorganised sector have been left out of the county's digital ecosystem.
He is co-founding the venture with Mukesh Kachroo, the former Chief Technology Officer at Gain Capital Group, the aim is to link all the stakeholders in the smartphone industry, from vendors to distributors and from mobile resellers to telecom operators, onto one platform,.
"Our estimates show that general trade in India sells over $12 billion worth of mobile phones a year. In the next five years, this business will grow to about $16 billion a year as feature phone market transitions to smartphones," said Kaul explaining why he's launching this new venture.
Organising the unorganised
In his experience while working with Apple and Blackberry, Kaul realised that the biggest challenges are faced by retailers in India's unorganised sector that constituted 93% of all retail business in India.
This makes them the largest disconnected segment in the country's digital ecosystem.
According to the company, Sofyx aims to allow smaller businesses to have access to exclusive deals from manufacturers something that was, so far, limited to online players in the field at a time when smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Apple and Samsung are also looking to expand their footprint in the offline market.
Loyalty programs for smaller shopkeepers
Aside from facilitating connectivity between different stakeholders, Sofyx also aims to streaming and digitizing in-store processes, including customer interactions.
One of the big advantages of buying a smartphone online or from a mainstream retailer is that users get access to special 'membership' privileges and can rack up loyalty points. Sofyx plans to extend the same option to smaller retailers as well by launching a 'plug-and-play' customer loyalty program through its app.
It will also be the central hub when retailers can advertise their products and launch promotions in their specific regions.
"There are more than 300,000 general trade shops selling mobile phones in the country and they are spread out in every nook and corner of India. Sofyx will enable a significant number of these stores by partnering with them as their single point technology partner," Kaul said.
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