It’s raining smartphones this season. This time, the latest entrant in the market are e-commerce honchos, Flipkart and Amazon, who have decided of launching their own brands of smartphones. But, these phones would come with a twist i.e. with exclusive insights into the minds of their customers.
Smartphones right now, comprise the highest revenue-generating category for both the ecommerce companies, allowing them to collect volumes of data on what customers look for in the devices, what they like or dislike.
Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, who leads its in-house brand ‘Billion’, had a clear vision for the company’s first branded smartphone when he approached Indian smartphone maker Smartron, a year ago to create phones ‘for Indians in India’.
To this, Hrishikesh Thite, category head for Billion, added that “Indians watch a lot of content on their phones and receive massive amounts of pictures and videos on WhatsApp regularly. This led to us providing unlimited cloud storage for free on secure India-based servers.”
Customer reviews also highlighted the need to not compromise on processors, including additional features like quick charge capability, a long battery life of nearly two days, and cameras with an ability to capture more color detail given India’s wide palette.
Amazon India, which has actually launched three models of its smartphone ’10.or’ (Tenor) under the ‘Crafted for Amazon’ label, has conducted about 960 tests, including figuring the height from which a phone can be dropped without causing critical damage.
Again, to this, Noor Patel, director of category management at Amazon India, added that The industry standard is one meter, but we decided to increase it to 1.5 meters”. Other tests were mainly on enhancing battery life and safety studies.
In fact, the teams also adopted traditional research methods such as focus groups as well as offline research. To this, Patel added that “We sent teams to offline stores to understand what customers were looking for”.
The phones are currently manufactured by two Chinese companies, namely, Huaqin and Longcheer, with the prototypes being assembled in China. Amazon also stated in its plan to move the manufacturing unit to India very soon.
But experts here have also presented the view that launching a smartphone in India presents some difficulties, especially for companies such as Flipkart and Amazon India that already have a large customer base and an established brand.
In fact, to this, Karn Chauhan, research analyst at Counterpoint, added that “Currently, 10.or is performing better due to its lower price range of Rs 5,000-7,000, which offers value for money with its specifications. While Billion Capture Plus also has good specifications, there are several other phones under different brands that are available within the same price range of Rs 11,000-13,000.”