/Imran Merchant, Business Head for Fox Mobiles

Imran Merchant, Business Head for Fox Mobiles

Imran Merchant
“We have innovated with a number of new concepts in the market”

Launched in 2015, Fox Mobiles has been able to make a mark in cluttered handset market with strong focus on customer service and strong distributor network. My Mobile interacted with Imran Merchant, Business Head for Fox Mobiles to understand Fox Mobile’s customer outreach and brand promotion strategy.

Indian mobile market is huge but also highly competitive and nearly saturated with myriad brands! In this scenario, where do you see Fox in terms of its offering and target segment?

The Indian mobile market has many brands competing against each other, but the majority of the market share is with only a handful of players. It is a misconception that the India is saturated as a mobile market. In 2017, mobile phone sales were only at approximately 250 million units against a population of 1.34 billion, out of which only half of them were smartphones. That is in stark contrast to more mature markets like China (approx. 450 million units against a population of 1.42 billion smartphones alone) or USA (approx. 200 million against a population of only 0.32 billion smartphones alone). Fox Mobiles is firmly targeted at the mass market and is aiming to help in connecting the next billion. We may still fall in the “Others” category in the market share pie chart. However, as the Indian government gives more importance to safety and regulatory rules (BIS and various other regulations and to Make in India, they are clearing the way for more serious players like us to grow and thrive.

Which is your strong product line – feature phones or smartphones?

We are focused on both, especially with a very strong smartphone roadmap planned for the 2018. However, our current lineup mainly consists of feature phones.

Why should anyone buy Fox mobile, when so many alternative brands are available?

For multiple reasons! Reach: We hope to increase the reach of our distribution to such depths that we should be one of the most accessible brands to everyone even in the remotest areas. Value: We hope to provide the most optimal tradeoff between cost and features and to give most features for the least price, especially keeping the needs of the different TG s in mind. Experience: With fox mobiles, our customers don’t just buy a piece of electronic. We put a lot of effort in the development of these products, keeping the user experience and the durability of the product in mind. We also offer a network of over 900 authorised service centres for seamless after sales service.

And from a marketing perspective as well, we have innovated with a number of new concepts in the market. For example, we were the first brand in 2015 to offer a 1 year replacement warranty. The industry later followed suit in 2016 with their variations (60 days, 90 days, 100 days, 150 days, 300 days, 365 days, etc.)

Which is your preferred sales channel – offline or online?

The specialisation of our parent company is in offline distribution. So that is how we have started this business. However, online also forms an integral part of our sales strategy. Our feature phones are available on both Amazon and Flipkart and we have planned exciting offers for the Independence day and Onam sale period in 2018 in partnership with both portals.

In terms of market reach, which are the states or cities where you are particularly strong and what all are you planning to attain deeper reach?

We have a pan-India sales and service network. However, we are stronger in larger states like Rajasthan, TN, etc. We are currently expanding distribution to smaller geographies and appointing micro distributors. This will increase our reach further. We are also in talks with our banking partners to provide channel finance and micro banking facilities to these micro distributors.

How do you promote yourself to gain mindshare?

We use a combination of online as well as offline BTL marketing. This allows us to reach a more relevant base very cost effectively.

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