Posts filed under 'Apple'
At the outset, we would like to wish a Very Happy New Year to our readers and Thank You for your continued patronage of CellStrat content. This is the first post of this year and starts with lot of hopes and aspirations for our readers and ourselves in the Year 2013.
As is customary each year, the year kicks off with the massive Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas. We are glad to report from the ground there (well, just kidding) – we are hooked to the internet and getting minute by minute news feed from the ground so it is same as being there physically (almost).
Today was the first major day of CES. Some notable news from CES :
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs opens the event with the “Born Mobile” mantra
Every year, either Bill Gates or Steve Balmer provide the opening keynote at CES but this year it was taken by Qualcomm CEO, a pre-dominantly mobile chip firm. This highlights the importance of Mobile to all things electronic now. With smarter devices and smarter everything, mobile chips are in almost everything we see in the future right from home appliances to mobile devices to industrial equipment, as well as most automotive assets like cars, trucks and containers.
Paul Jacobs explained his “Born Mobile” mantra today and there was a surprise when Steve Ballmer joined him on stage briefly – Paul said that even Microsoft has adopted the Born Mobile mantra. Paul launched Qaulcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processors, which are the fastest mobile processors on earth as per him. These chips are about 75% faster than previous processors and can deliver HD video seamlessly as well as support Ultra HD television.
Sony launches new signature smartphones
Sony launched new Xperia Z Android smartphones, which have a five-inch screen, HD 1080p Reality Display and 13 megapixel camera. It is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon processor. What was unique is the new One Touch functionality that allows the device to wirelessly interact with other Sony devices such as speakers, headphones and TVs. Sony showcased a new Bravia TV which can display the phone content from the new smartphones if the phone is tapped to the TV remote.
Intel launches new smartphone chip family
Intel launched new chips for smartphones and tablets at CES today. Intel has been late to the mobile party and struggled againts ARM Holding and Qualcomm in this space. Now it is trying to get its mobile act together with an array of new smartphone and tablet chips.
The company’s new Atom processors which are in the next-gen category will be available in 2013 holiday period. The new chips assume Touch based interface as a key aspect of the functionality.
Samsung brings smartphone experience to it’s TVs
Samsung announced seamless integration between its smartphones and Smart TVs. The phone functionality of Touch and Speech recognition will be made available in Smart TVs. Samsung is probably the biggest success story of 2012 and has taken market share in almost all categories.
AT&T focuses on Digital Life and Project VIP
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega showcased the new Digital Life offering which falls in the Connected Devices or M2M category. This solution involves a Connected Home and Security apparatus and applications with remote management and monitoring of the Home by consumers and home owners. Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s Connected Devices business said, that less than 20% of US homes have security and less than 1% homes have home automation.
AT&T is pioneering the M2M space and a global leader in evolving and maturing M2M business models around Home and Security.
AT&T also announced APIs for developers to provide advanced call management applications – these probably use the IMS or IP Multimedia Subsystem interface to the wireless network.
AT&T also announced its intentions to deploy its new LTE network to 300 million people by end-2014. Currently, AT&T’s LTE network reaches 170 million people in USA which places it in second ranking behind Verizon in LTE deployments.
Project VIP (Velocity IP) is AT&T’s new $14 billion investment initiative to focus on LTE, Connected Home and other emerging areas.
Other news at CES today included LG announcing special emphasis on NFC as a linking tech to link all its products and providing an ability to put all these devices on the Connected Grid for remote management and control, Nvidia launching the world’s fastest mobile processor (as per its claims at least) and NTT Docomo launching a new M2M platform for global service providers using Jasper Wireless platform.
If one were to summarize, this year’s main themes seem to be Smarter and Faster Mobile Chips, Connectedness, Smart Devices, Digital Television etc. Let’s see what the remaining days of CES offer. We are watching the news in excitement about the up and coming technologies at this event. To get full coverage on this event, visit the event website here.
January 8th, 2013
Since the launch of Apple iOS 6, one is seeing major activity in the world of Digital Maps. Both Apple and Google have been duking it out recently on this front. Before the iOS 6 was released, Google Maps was the default map application installed on the iPhones. But map application in recent times has become perhaps the most popular mobile app and hence substantial customer engagement and media sales get initiated with the map experience. The primary fruits of iPhone mapping app were being enjoyed by Google, until iOS 6 came along. With iOS 6 and iPhone 5, Apple decided to take the Map app internal and worked on Apple Maps for this version of iOS, thereby dropping Google Maps as the default Map app on the new iPhone.
In it’s haste to release the Map App along with iOS 6 launch, Apple mapping team seemed to compromise on reliability and accuracy in Apple Maps. The error proved deadly, as the Apple Maps app was widely criticized after iOS 6 was launched, being that rest of the iOS 6 as well as iPhone 5 was much appreciated. Apple Map Apps shows incorrect placement of landmarks and is frustrating mobile users around the world who rely on smartphone maps to guide them around cities.
This resulted in Tim Cook of Apple issuing an apology to Apple customers. Google, with a guilty pleasure, enjoyed the Apple Map criticism. Google has since announced that they are working on a custom Google Maps app for the iOS 6 platform. It is expected to come out before the end of the year.
Why are Map Apps such a big deal after all ? In an App survey conducted by Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta, Google Maps was rated as the most popular mobile app. That means that navigation and directions via smartphone maps has become the most key use of these phones. One knew that Mapping Apps were popular and widely used, but who would have guessed that Map App is “the” most popular mobile app out there. Especially Google Maps. Obviously, smartphone users really use this app in their daily movements.
Maps are also used for the most cutting-edge of phone applications, that is Location-Based Services or LBS. LBS refers to finding businesses nearby and guiding customer traffic to those businesses. LBS also enables local advertising and shopping. LBS is key aspect of SoLoMo – Social Local Mobile – a concept referring to convergence between local commerce, mobile phones and social shopping.
Maps also facilitate searches now – Search is more relevant if locational aspects are added to it. Search Advertising has been a revolutionary concept and LBS makes Search even more relevant.
When the iOS 6 Apple Maps app faced ridicule, Tim Cook suggested that iPhone customers download Bing or other Map Apps from App Store. Google, of course, had not planned a iOS 6 compatible Map app, until it realized that iPhone users were clamoring for the Google version, after having experienced the cloogy Apple Map App. Apple Map flap has caused many a casualty at Apple office – with many execs including one of the most senior execs, Scott Forstall, being asked to leave. Just today, Apple fired another manager in charge of Map App.
With the Apple Map app mess, other mapping programs have gained eg Embark and Bing Maps.
Mapping wars are front and centre in the smartphone evolution, the various map providers need to check their coordinates in this new war.
November 29th, 2012
SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) has become the new fad in town for most commerce firms and retailers, as well as technology providers. This concept refers to the idea of enabling hyper-local retail via mobile convergence and providing a social interaction between users and retailers for engagement, sales growth and loyalty.
What are the technologies which enable SoLoMo ? What products provide best of breed solutions in this space ?
Below is a sample list of some of the leading firms / products which offer solutions in this space :-
a) Digby – Leading Mobile Retail convergence solution. They have potentially the strongest Mobile Retail convergence solution and are considered a SoLoMo specialist - Digby solution provides integration between web store / offline store / mobile commerce / social commerce / QR code solution / real time messaging. Digby Localpoint software enables brands to create geo-fences around their stores and other points of interest and embed those geo-fences into the brand’s app
b) Capillary Tech - leading retail CRM / loyalty solution – one of the hottest startups from India, now a global phenomenon. High quality retail CRM / loyalty / retail analytics solution
c) Facebook Connect and Twitter API – for close Social integration to enable Social commerce
d) Pluck from Demand Media - Pluck is interesting as it allows social engagement, social commerce and social loyalty solutions. Pluck enables these concepts via communities, content generation and gamification.
e) Foursquare Enterprise solutions may offer robust gamification solutions - Foursquare is considered leading gamification firm around communities.
f) Groupon / LivingSocial / Snapdeal / mydala – these firms are known for the Group shopping experience and offer LBS capabilities. These are not products but full-fledged startups in the area of Social Commerce.
g) Antenna Mobile Platform / IBM Worklight / Sybase 365 - These Enterprise Mobility platforms offer Mobile app development which can enable a retailer to publish engagement and commerce apps for its customers. This includes Mobile POS on smartphones / tablets, mobile wallet and in-store apps.
h) Telibrahma – Telibrahma has solutions in the areas of virtual reality and LBS, which empower the consumer to have a closer interaction with the retailers. Telibrahma LBS relies on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi proximity marketing to allow retailers to engage the audience in the nearby vicinity.
i) ZipDial – ZipDial provides an intuitive missed call voting and feedback system, which allows a retailer to leverage the mobile shoppers in the store to respond to a retailer survey instantaneously. This helps retailer drive business intelligence and customer feedback about the store experience.
Here are some relevant links in this area :
www.digby.com, http://www.capillarytech.com, http://www.pluck.com/, http://www.groupon.com, http://telibrahma.com/, www.zipdial.com
A combination of the above technologies / products will enable the SoLoMo experience for a retailer or service business.
CellStrat’s next conference, the India Digital Forum on 07th Feb in N. Delhi, will address a lot of the SoLoMo topics and technologies outlined above. Be sure to book your seat today and hear from top speakers in the Social Commerce space.
November 27th, 2012
(from our Bangalore desk)
I attended this conference in Bangalore earlier this week – it was most interesting with hundreds of company execs, entrepreneurs and thought leaders speaking about product innovation, development strategies and emerging technologies.
I will list some major themes I picked up at this conference:-
- In India, next decade belongs to Product development and these will have major impact on business and social empowerment.
- Hiring best practices and product quality differentiate successful organizations and individuals from all others.
- In the new world, individuals and professionals which take initiative and drive innovation will take their organizations to leadership positions. This applies to large and small firms alike. These individuals will be the ones in most demand going forward.
- Design and Image is crucial in the new world – this translates to User Experience and Engagement in all we do. Think Apple or Amazon.com
- The big opportunities are in Smartphones / tablets, Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, Big Data, Social – all usual suspects. These are all big enablers of new innovation and present opportunities for growth. At the same time, these technologies create a level playing field. As a result, larger firms now find that small startups can cause immense disruption in the former’s usual businesses – hence executives in the larger firms must think like entrepreneurs to create new opportunities and ensure customer delight via superb delivery and engagement.
- India has 900 million feature phones and only 10% of these are smartphones. So Mobile Apps and Enterprise Mobility offer incredible opportunity growing forward – this is true of western markets as well, as Enterprises there adopt mobile in a big way for all their applications. Mobile has truly gone from Mobile Also -> Mobile First – >Mobile Only strategy. Now, major new programs and initiatives in leading firms are planning to do a Mobile only strategy.
- Cloud Computing is the new way of doing almost everything in IT for end clients – IT investments are shifting to Cloud at an incredible space – so much so that most new projects or initiatives are looking at Cloud as a preferred solution over an in-house hosting strategy.
- Big Data is not a fad – with all the Social channels and frenetic transaction activity, Big Data is a problem which is growing in size everyday – as such, it offers major opportunities for solution providers and product developers to slice, dice and analyze, in order to achieve actionable intelligence and business decisioning.
- Open source technologies are now fully mainstream and driving major new development.
- Collaboration and leadership are key aspects in driving success. Most new innovation requires good collaboration and partnership skills as well as passion to succeed.
- Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of InMobi, said that the three critical factors for success for a startup are :
- Thing Big – you can do it
- Hire the best
- Focus on product quality. Good products sell themselves
- Naeem Zafar, Founder and CEO of Bitzer Mobile as well as more than a dozen startups earlier, said that for each CEO, the main responsibility is “Don’t run out of money”.
- IBM-mers Peter Coldicott (Chief Product Architect), Robert High (IBM Fellow in IBM Watson), and Daniel Yellin (Enterprise Mobility Chief Engineer) spoke about IBM’s Smarter cities program, Cloud and the new IBM super-computer Watson which is making waves.
- Sharad Sharma (ex-MD, Yahoo India), spoke about product entrepreneurs as transformers of the society.
- Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip, spoke about his entrepreneurial journey and the Indian startup ecosystem.
The event is one power-packed event with almost 1300 delegates which included almost 150+ blue-chip speakers and thought leaders from India and abroad. The presence of so many Silicon Valley luminaries seems to indicate that action in Bangalore is accelerating and many westward folks are now looking east to this part of the world for next revolutions in tech and digital.
Kudos to Nasscom, Nasscom President Mr Som Mittal and all the dedicated NPC volunteers for putting together what we consider is a remarkable show.
For more updates from this event, click here.
November 12th, 2012
Ford’s Telenav solution and Chevrolet’s MyLink are adapting cellphone map/navigation applications for safe and convenient use inside vehicles as a way around costly in-dash navigation systems. The $25-a-year Car Connect app allows Android phone users to feed their driving instructions to the screen of Fords equipped with Applink. The Chevy Spark uses the BringGo app to integrate iPhone or Android cell phones. The use of such cellphone app links might make the integrated navigation system option obsolete, John Quain writes.
(via Smartbrief for Apps)
October 22nd, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is available for online pre-orders with a starting price of $499 with delivery expected on Oct. 26. The starting price includes a 32 GB tablet running Windows RT, a version specifically made for tablets powered by smartphone chips. Microsoft’s innovative thin Touch Cover keypad option adds another $119 to the price if purchased separately.
The Surface RT is unique in a few respects and represents a new strategy for the company. This is the first Microsoft-designed computer that the company is selling; something that Microsoft’s hardware partners were caught unaware of in advance. This edition of Windows 8, called Windows RT, also runs on ARM-based chips that typically power smartphones and consumer tablets. With Windows RT, as well as the Surface device that it designed, Microsoft hopes to slow down Apple’s iPad momentum, which currently has a majority share of the overall tablet market.
I agree that Surface RT will surely create some dent with it’s price in the overall tablet market (for people who feel more comfortable with MS products or are highly sensitive to prices in developing countries like India) which has been forecasted to hit a whooping 377M units by 2016. But, I also feel, it’s a dead miss from the word YES. Unit sales will be very disappointing considering non-inclusion of the cover (priced at $100 just to say tab costs just $499), the apps just aren’t there – stick with an ecosystem that has the apps you want (Android or iOS). At this price, they will be perceived as an “also-ran” and will not gain the momentum to substantially move people from capable and proven consumer tablet alternatives.
October 18th, 2012
Few days back, I came across “Pitch,” a marketing magazine with the cover story titled “Child is the father of Brands.” It had interviews of 20 odd marketers, brand experts, marketers, creative brains, media owners and media planners on how kids are redefining the marketing.
Here, I am summarizing the same along with my views on how digital media is playing a key role in connecting with
this young audience. Indian consumer era has just started and thus new age marketers have started creating their own rules to connect with the young generation in turn influencing their parents and guardians in their purchase decisions.
Digital and social media is playing a major role these days for marketers in influencing today’s generation which
is called the ‘Screenagers’. They live on a television screen, console screen or a tablet screen. Within the digital space, while gaming remains the No.1 activity for a 4-10 year-olds, as you move up the age ladder, social media begins to take precedence over gaming. E.g. Dairy company, Amul has been using the digital space for its range of ice-creams and for Amul PRO, the recently launched malt based milk additive for kids in the age-group of 2-15 years. While it’s Facebook page has close to 500,000 likes, the brand’s websites are also buzzing with activity.
77% kids like funny ads while 60% like ads with their favourite celebrities. In line with this, marketers are vying for tie-ups with animation movies and films targeted at children to leverage the noise created by these Hollywood films prior to their release in the country and cash in on their popularity and exposure. The English animation flick Ice Age-4, for example had associations with seven different brands: MTR, McDonald’s, MCD, Crax Corn Rings, Perfetti Alpenliebe, LG Electrnoics 3D TV and The Mobile Store. For Perfetti, the partnership out with Fox Studios for its marketing campaign was aimed at bringing alive the ‘irresistibility’ positioning of Alpenliebe etc.
Successful brands will go where the kids are – Touch Screens. Adam Shlachter, Managing Partner, Practice Lead, Digital at MEC (a division of GroupM) call children born in last 3-5 years as ‘Gen-S’ or “Generation Screen.” He says, Gen S will never know a world without screens, without being connected, without touch and swipe, or gesture control, or without cameras to capture, interact, share and connect with others instantly. We have all witnessed toddlers navigating a smartphone or iPad better than we can. Thus, marketers, brands, retailers and publishers need to stay relevant to the audience that expects to transact nearly everything on a touch screen. This means, it has become critical for brands to create and redesign sites to render appropriately and dynamically for different screens and operating systems.
Today, 45% of Fortune 500 companies do not have mobile-optimised websites according to a recent study by Interactive Advertising Bureau. But, now it is slowly happening. A number of apps are being created by companies worldwide to engage Gen S in many innovative ways. Examples include learning and literacy apps from education companies like Scholastic or Penguin books etc.
Now that digital media has emerged from it’s infancy, reaching kids has gotten harder. About 48% of consumers
between the age of 8 and 12 spend two hours online every day, according to eMarketer, while 24% of teens between 13
and 17 spend more than 15 hours online each week and also watch TV regularly.
I would like to conclude here by showing some statistics on How much would parents consider a child’s involvement in a product purchase:
||Would not Consider
|Internet Service Provider
|Savings Plan for Children
(Data Source: Cartoon Network New Generations India study 2011)
October 1st, 2012
Recently I am hearing a lot about the fact that the IT budgets are increasing coming from the CMO department. Indeed “CMO is the new CIO”. Why this trend ? Reasons are manifold :
a) Customer touchpoint is the new focus : Customer touchpoint is where the action is now. Whether it is Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Customer Access or anything to do with orchestrating these, these are the hot topics now for enterprises large and small. This essentially means mobile devices, mobile apps, social, local, cloud, analytics etc. To be more specific, the big themes now are Mobile, Social, Cloud and Analytics – all that relate to customer facing technology or orchestrating the customer experience.
Who owns the customer experience – it is the Marketing office and not really the CIO office.
b) Image and Branding : In this world awash with media and content, image is everything. Social and Digital Media are increasingly commanding higher order of CXO focus and budgets. It is now possible for unknown brands and firms to accelerate their visibility overnight via a variety of Social and Digital channels. Traditional firms often find themselves late to this party or reacting to their customers who are already present enmasse on these Digital Channels. Simple 140 character tweets can embarass monstrous corporations in matter of seconds. Image and Branding on new media has become a herculean challenge for large firms and leveled the playing field for consumers, smaller firms and startups.
Who controls a firm’s image and branding, CMO again. So CMO will drive investments in Social and Digital technology which is increasingly important to firms’s reputation and respect in the marketplace.
c) Backend infra is mature : Increasingly, one finds that backend infrastructure in traditional IT departments is mature – the big bang Oracle, SAP and middleware projects are stable and it is increasingly hard to find those big ticket IT projects now. Most of the transformational IT is now happening at customer edge and not in backend tech or networks. Of course, there are exceptions, like 4G and LTE investments by wireless industry and Big Data projects to slice and dice the voluminous data banks that now exist.
However, save for a few big items on backend, backend tech is now mature and even Oracles and SAPs of the world are now developing products for the front-end, where the growth multiples seem better going forward. The customer front-end, of course, is owned by the CMO and not the CIO.
d) Emergence of new tech : Web 2.0 is now being replaced by Web 3.0 – a world of seamless mobility, applications, and front-end use cases. Mobile Payments, Mobile Media, Mobile Devices, SME Cloud Apps, Social Networks, Location Services, hyperlocal marketing are the big glamour areas of tech now where most developers and firms want to focus their energy now. Apple may have started the trend of massive consumer revolution when it created the iPhone, Amazon has brought Web services to SMEs on a massive scale, Google is innovating in search and platforms, Facebook has amassed the largest number of eyeballs around the world. These kind of firms are at the forefront of consumer revolution in tech devices and applications.
Again, tackling this world is in the primary perview of the CMO with it’s mobile strategy, social and digital technology, connected consumer and advertising.
e) Consumerization of IT or COIT : COIT is a popular term now – where consumers walk in into the workplace with their consumer devices and force the CIO to adopt to their devices and apps rather than the other way round. The concept of a Social Enterprise is being adopted by all large firms to drive employee engagement, mindshare and collaboration. Gen Y employees are forcing their employers to change their ways and business practices to make these corporations employee oriented. Talent crunch is forcing firms to adapt to the employees wishes rather than the other way round. Hyper-informed customers are, in turn, pressurizing companies to provide relevant product information and fantastic customer service.
Certainly, CMO is the consumer and people expert and not the CIO. Most of the COIT trends require CMO to play a key role in the tech strategy.
To be sure, the CIO is not going anywhere and remains the bulwark of operational infrastructure and execution framework within the firms. The tech jazz (and related budgets), however, are now owned by the CMO due the macro trends outlined above. Indeed, CMO is the new CIO in the tech world.
September 24th, 2012
As if you have not heard enough about iPhone 5 already, here is more of it
Apple announced iPhone 5 on Sept 12th. The other big thing that happened that day was Quantitative Easing version 3 announcement by US Federal Reserve – one wonders, it was a synchronized announcement – just kidding.. Certainly, some market analysts have said that iPhone 5 may do more for US GDP growth than Fed’s QE3..amazing..
Well, intentional or not, both the announcements have a dramatic impacts – QE3 will accelerate the stock market rise around the world, fuel more inflation etc. Apple announcement will lead to Apple maintaining it’s hegemony in the smartphone ecosystem. I know, I know, some of you are on side of the table which is less than enamoured by the new iPhone 5. However, our take is that the ecosystem of Apple is much too strong and still underestimated by most. The vertical integration of iTunes, Macs, iPhones, iPads, licensed content in there, seamless charging via iTunes, cross-device synch capabilities are so intense and so transformational in the tech world, that few can match up with Apple prowess over the marketplace. Apple ran out of online inventory of iPhone 5 in one hour of opening the sales..validation enough of a huge pent-up demand out there.
Lack of NFC or some other popular features, now commonplace in other smartphones, will not deter iPhone 5 in creating breakthrough success once again for Apple sales. What most people fail to realize about Apple is that it does not usually toe the line created by others – it creates new models which, in many cases, become the benchmark over time. Coming back to NFC, Apple did bundle a feature called Passbook in the new iPhone 5 – a loyalty and coupon management feature – this is not payment enabled but it could evolve into a Digital Wallet. Many leaders like eBay, Square, Paypal are making do without NFC in Mobile Payments and quite successfully at that. It is likely that NFC may never become the mainstream mobile payment tech if Apple and others listed here do not push it.
As to what Apple iPhone 5 does pack, it has a laundry list of neat features :
LTE (4G capable), Thinner, Lighter, bigger screen (4 inch diagonally), all new Apple-designed A6 chip, better retina display, improved camera (although megapixels remain at 8 megs), enhanced HD video recording, 5 rows of icons on the screen, improved Siri assistant, new lightning connector, new Apple mapping app, better iCloud integration, 700,000 apps, new iOS 6 OS, Passbook loyalty feature, the list goes on and on.
To view all iPhone 5 features, click here.
As far as we can visualize, we still feel demand for iPhone 5 will be back-logged and people will go gaga over this device the world over. Apple mobile leadership is far from being threatened, not until they make major blunders or others truly can provide a neat vertically integrated ecosystem. So far, we see only Amazon as being anywhere close to providing the vertical ecosystem with Kindle platform. Samsung tried but it is missing many major components for creating a complete ecosystem, music partnerships to begin with, among other things. Google does not try as their focus is entirely different – to monetize via search engines on Android devices.
So – for now, it is Apple’s world to rule in the mobile arena, until somebody else “does an Apple” on them.
September 17th, 2012
(with some ideas from The Wall Street Journal article dated 11 Sept, 2012)
The Wall Street Journal has an article today on how the Indian ecommerce is loosing it’s allure. Flipkart, Myntra and Snapdeal were once being hailed as the next-big-things in the India tech scene but that image is now loosing some shine. It has to do with a variety of factors, the predominant one being the Web bubble burst Phase 2 in the West. As we know, the valuations of Facebook, Zynga and Groupon have been halved or even lower on the western bourses. Indian ecommerce firms, which are considered equivalent in India, are also seeing a declining shareholder and venture capital interest due to this. The valuation of ecommerce firms in India has been chopped into half (roughly) for now.
The Indian economic slowdown and the realization that such models face issues in monetization, has led to further decline in venture capital land grab of Indian ecommerce outfits, a trend widely prevalent last year; it was just last year when the India ecommerce firms like Flipkart and Snapdeal were flying high on the valuation scales. In 2011, VC investing in Indian ecommerce firms rose to $344.4 million from $49.2 million in the prior year.
But, despite the recent downturn, Indian ecommerce market holds stupendous promise. According to Zinnov Management Consultants, India’s e-commerce industry is expected to accelerate from $10 billion in 2011 to $260 billion by 2025, a whopping 26 times growth factor. Only 10% of India’s 1.2 billion people are online so far, as per comScore, which tracks online usage patterns.
Some consolidation is now happening where the big firms are gobbling up some others. Eg Flipkart bought out rival electronics online retailer letsbuy.com while fashionandyou.com bought online rival urbantouch.com in August.
To read the Wall Street Journal article, click here.
What should the Indian ecommerce entrepreneurs do going forward :
a) Market is too big over the long term for entrepreneurs to ignore
b) Entrepreneurs need a viable business model which can sustain over a long period. These startups need to develop brand recognition and sustained marketing over a long term to survive and thrive.
c) Customer service and customer experience is key to customer acquisition and retention.
d) There are a variety of niches which can be targeted eg location-based services, home and lifestyle, kids and women, healthcare services, infrastructure-oriented ventures, education and many others.
e) Offline retail partnerships and arrangements are key to drive down costs and warehousing challenges.
f) A gradual drive for product innovation and clean websites can help entrepreneurs differentiate their offering from the hodge-podge of ecommerce outfits emerging everyday.
g) Mobile, Social and Local convergence (or MoSoLo) can drive a lot of the innovation in ecommerce business model and delivery.
h) Mobile and Tablets are perhaps the most suitable channels for market reach and scalability. PC / laptop penetration may remain low and grow slowly.
i) Tier 2 towns and unexplored markets like rural may offer interesting possibilities for online entrepreneurs.
September 11th, 2012