It all started with Motorola last year when the company dumped the brick-and-mortar channel and decided to sell its smartphones only through Flipkart.com.
A lot of eyebrows were raised with many doubting how successful this model would be. Well, Motorola has not just proved its decision to be a correct one by selling over 3 million units in 10 months, but it also proved that Indians are not scared of buying gadgets online.
Today, Motorola is not the only brand that is selling its smartphones online. Xiaomi, OnePlus and Micromax's YU too are a few brands who have tied up only with a popular online ecommerce website but are selling it in a different way.
Calling it flash sales, these three companies are putting up a limited number of handsets for sale and only those users who have registered for the sale are entitled to buy it. As these companies claim, close to a lakh or two users register for every sale where only 10,000 or 20,000 units are up for sale. This number is huge.
The concept of buying smartphones and gadgets online isn't really very new. People had been buying smartphones, camera and laptops online much before Motorola re-entered the Indian market. But there were issues. People used to receive empty boxes with bricks or vim bar, there were warranty issues, and the biggest issue was lack of trust. While many were apprehensive about buying a gadget online, the discount price these portals user to offer over offline retail was lucrative.
These e-retailers worked on their logistics and further strengthened the trust of the buyers by offering instant exchange or even return in case the hardware turned out defective. The perfect example being the network issue with the shipments of Motorola Moto G. The company actively interacted with customers on its Facebook page to resolve the problem. It even arranged an exchange of the unit for unsatisfied customers in the shortest possible time.
These 'online only' brands are pushing a lot many other players to think online too. For instance, Alcatel One Touch, which was present in the offline retail channel, started launching its new smartphones through e-retailers. The way things are going, we could soon see other gadgets and appliances moving into the 'online only' sales mode.