Archive for August, 2011

How much does it cost to startup a basic eCommerce company in India?

On 25th. Aug’11, there was a post: “How much does it cost to startup a basic eCommerce company in India?” on Pluggd. Though the author has given the distribution correctly, but I differ to a great extent on the costs that have been mentioned. If someone actually takes these costs seriously, most people would never be able to start an e-commerce company at least as a side business by sparing Rs.4-5 lacs/ mth.

Besides the legal and accounting costs (which are also available in India at lower prices), only about Rs.15000 are required to have a basic online store, with payment gateway integrated along with many other facilities like integrated short code, Mobile QR code, mobile wap site and last but not the least back end for adding/ updating products in a jiffy. All this comes as part of a basic package. This platform is provided by and a store can be launched in merely half a day i.e. no need of waiting for months to start your store. If people would like more facilities, upgrades to this package are also available at low annual costs. But, required services can also be opted for, by paying for them extra as standalone items outside of the package.

Many of our customers in India and abroad use our services right from free package to enterprise packages ranging from 0 to Rs.55000 annually with varying levels of services and promotional features available. Even the annual enterprise package is almost 1/8th. of Rs.4lacs/ month cost given by the author on

August 30th, 2011

Social, Relevance & SMS come together to serve customers

Ever wondered as to what could be the solution that is a mix of social, viral, SMS with an earning potential for consumers and lead generation tool for advertisers with relevance built into the tool.

Yes, such a tool has been created by my friends at Wit Innovations of Bangalore. It’s called SMS2Cash . It works on the concept of relevance of content and spreading the same through SMS by spreading it in one’s peers and friends interested in that content. It’s an app created for Java, Android and Blackberry phones. Once downloaded, it will show just ads by various advertisers. If you feel it can be of interest to somebody in your friend circle too, you forward the ad message to your friends in your network. Thus, advertiser gets eye balls on the application users as well as through SMS on mobiles of those people most interested in that kind of an ad. While, app users will be able to generate some revenues too for sharing the ad content with each of their peers. Application can be downloaded by visiting the following site on the phone’s browser:

Currently the apps are still in beta phase but already advertisers are showing interest and have signed-up for the campaigns. these are ShoppersStop, UTI, Artha Property, ICICI Bank, HomeShop18 and Cleartrip

August 29th, 2011

Solar Powered phones, a boon for poor in India

Recently, I visited the exhibition organised by CMAI. Most stalls were from older. Chinese exhibitors visiting India for all. But CMAI always makes sure to get at least a few companies which have something new to offer.

This time, I managed to meet a company from Shenzhen – Saga Mobile that has launched solar powered cellphones for all stratas of society – poor to college youth to corporates. Technology is patented and they are looking for dealers and distributors in India.

Mobiles look good and will be pretty nice to fulfil demands of such communication technologies in rural or low electricity areas of India. These phones, with just 30 mins of solar charging give 7-10 minutes of calling time and with 20-25 mins of solar charging, consumer would be able to call for 20-25 mins.

Last but not the least, 0151 model of this company also supports upto 4 sim cards. So, this would be best for people who carry 2-4 phones at any moment.

Look forward to their launch in India and I would definitely like to try one as I personally travel a lot with 2-3 phones and quite a few times forget my chargers in hotels. These may Simplify my life to a great extent.

August 27th, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns As CEO Of Apple

With Steve Jobs’ resignation today as CEO of Apple Inc., the man who changed the face of computing and then went on to repeat the performance with mobile leaves the field just when smartphones and tablets are beginning to turn the worlds of commerce, content, communication and marketing upside down.

While Mr. Jobs will still maintain ties with Apple as its newly elected chairman of the board, his active input on the creative design process and product advertising will be missed.

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, said in a statement on behalf of Apple’s board.

“Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world-class executive team,” he said. “In his new role as chairman of the board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

Apple COO Tim Cook, Jobs’ successor in waiting, has been appointed CEO, while Jobs has been appointed Chairman of the company’s board. 55 year old Jobs has been suffering from a rare pancreatic cancer. In 2004, when Jobs underwent surgery for cancer, Cook had overseen day-to-day operations in his absence quite effectively.

Goodbye letter

Here is the letter that Mr. Jobs released at 6:35 p.m. ET on Aug. 24 to the Apple board and the public:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


(Source: Excerpts from Tech Crunch)

August 25th, 2011

Benefits of Mobile Apps and solutions in Healthcare

Last week, I wrote about why buying tablets is good for health care institutions. There I had mentioned about hiring a team of app developers and making all apps and solutions easily usable and synced by IT department of these institutions. Today’s post is on what kinds of apps/ solutions can be developed for raising effectiveness in healthcare in these institutions.

Mobile healthcare applications are one of the hottest topics of conversation in healthcare these days. Benefits are enormous and centered on solving problems. Hospitals want to use mobile to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. Healthcare is a complex business and thus moves slowly. Ericsson is one company that is seen doing wonders and making good use of mobile communication in their health care devices division.

Since last two years, CellStrat itself has been getting queries from time to time from doctors who would like to provide tele-medicine facility to theirs patients, companies who would like to mobilize the blood sugar monitoring etc. Quite a few app development companies across India has been making small apps fir checking eyes, heart rates, blood pressure etc. to be able to tap this huge market where mobile usage holds a huge potential for all users as well as providers.

Some of the examples of how mobile communication and tools can be used are given below:

  • Wellness Programs – Increase efficiency of  preventative care by sending tips on weight loss and exercise.

  • Sending Health Alerts – Inform members about flu shot availability, mobile services such as blood drives and information on pandemics.
  • Reducing Costly Communication – Send welcome kits, plan updates, and explanations of benefits electronically in place of costly channels such as direct mail and call centers.

  • Allowing Access to Information – Give patients access to their information when and where it’s needed most.
  • Appointment Automation – Automate appointment reminders using highly engaged channels such as SMS & Push Notifications.
  • Rx Reminders –  Send refill reminders to at-risk patients such as the elderly and expectant mothers, as well as track ROI for coupon redemption.
  • Billing – Update patients on their account balances.
  • Facility Continuity – Request assistance from partner facilities, or assemble response teams.
  • Marketing – Use the mobile platform to drive consumers into your facility (i.e., text in to find our wait times).
  • Saving time for doctors in digitization of patient’s data and enabling it’s access anywhere as required basis over the air through mobiles and tablets.
  • Saving timing for nurses in acting to doctor’s instructions as soon as they are entered in the tablets apps etc…

August 25th, 2011

Groupon close to running out of money

Former Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget — argues in a recent blog post that Groupon is only going public because it is close to running out of money and needs the cash. Blodget says that while the company is technically cash-flow positive, it is operating under a “working-capital deficit,” meaning its assets are insufficient to meet its obligations, which amount to $680 million and include close to $400 million that it has to pay to the merchants who signed up to offer Groupon discounts.

The company also received a lot of criticism as it painted a very rosy picture by using it’s own customised accounting method “adjusted consolidated segment operating income,” or ACSOI. This effectively allowed it to exclude subscriber-acquisition costs, including the hundreds of millions of marketing dollars that are spent to promote Groupon deals.

The impact of this on company’s financial health was miraculous: Using its own methods, Groupon said it had operating income of $60 million for 2010 and $81 million for the first quarter of 2011. Using standard financial methods, however, the company actually had an operating loss of almost half a billion dollars in 2010 and lost a further $100 million in the first quarter of this year.

I am wondering about many Indian companies that have mushroomed after Groupon came into existence. Are they also using funny accounting methods? Would they be able to sustain for long? what is their future?

These kinds of practices make customers loose trust in companies and thus they suddenly go bust effecting economies badly. What do you think? How are Indian and other such foreign companies operating?

(Source: Excerpted from Gigaom article)

August 24th, 2011

8 reasons Why Social Media Marketing should be outsourced

Social media marketing can and will continue to grow, and as it does, so does the importance of social media for businesses of all sizes. The big question is whether or not these types of tasks can and should be outsourced to offshore companies. At first thought you may think, No Way.

But, as social media has matured, large companies have learned that just having a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile isn’t enough, they actually have to DO something with those networks. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to happen in order to make a social media marketing campaign successful. Not every company is equipped to handle the daily grind of a social media marketing campaign, which is why many turn their social media management over to outside firms and consultants. Below is a list of 8 attributes/ reasons, we think, it should be outsourced to a dedicated Social Media Agency instead of your ad agency:

Sl. No.


Social Media Agency Ad Agency



Social Media Knowledge

Yes No No


Specialised Tools

Yes No



Online User Behavior

Yes Yes



Marketing Personnel

Yes Yes



Product Education Yes No



Trend Spotting

Yes Yes




Yes No



Cost to Company

Yes Yes + Yes ++

August 23rd, 2011

Relevance in Brand Messages is what Mobile Consumers want

Since about an year or two now, message relevance has caught attention of the markets. In India, consumers got fed-up, complained but are still complaint, though on a lesser level about irrelevance of messages being broadcasted to them by companies. And most of these come from real estate industry. This has risen to so high levels that most people besides youth have stopped seeing messages considering that all must be coming from some or the other unwanted companies. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) tried to intervene and control it a lot by introducing NDNC (National Do Not Call) and DND (Do not Disturb) registry etc. whereby people had an option to register their number in order to restrict the irrelevant calls and messages. But still no respite to consumers as in India, mobile marketers are generally able to work out ways to by-pass these rules and/ or don’t even bother about them.

I would like to cite a recent study done in US recently.

According to a new research from consumer insights agency Communispace, people want more personalized brand communications through their mobile devices, and they want tools that help them manage and filter the flow of content.

Yes, believe it, people are craving communications from brands — but they want those communications to be relevant and on their terms.

There is a set of rules people expect brands to follow as they communicate through mobile devices — the first one being to avoid unsolicited contact. According to the research, people still value their privacy and don’t want to engage in brand interactions that they have not approved.

“A very specific [good] example would be having a mobile app that, whenever [a certain] product is on sale, it sends me an alert,” says Julie Wittes Schlack, senior vice president of innovation and design at Communispace. “I, as the consumer, have indicated what I’m interested in and I’ve opted in. And the message you’re giving me is information that I want.”

Once people have acknowledged they’d like to receive marketing messages, the brands should be ready to communicate with messages that provide some value for the consumers, whether they are a deal on a specific product or a location-based offer.

“If you’re a retailer or manufacturer and you know someone is in a specific location, reach out to them in the moment,” says Wittes Schlack. “Or do it by creating apps that actually provide value, and not purely advertising or offers and promotions.”

At the same time, marketers have to learn to let people dictate the flow of the conversation. Ultimately, they’ll decide the level of interaction they want to have with a brand, and it will be up to the brand to provide those many (and specialized) levels of communication.

“What we’re hearing is that people want to be selective in who they want to hear from and how,” Wittes Schlack says. “But if people have opted in, it’s because they want that content, that dialogue and that promotion. [Brands] have to be really broad and really nimble in how they respond.”

August 22nd, 2011

Interactivity in ads, increases brand recall

Last year, MD of one of the top media houses in India with 10+ magazines and newspapers asked me if I knew any app that could help them convert all their offline or even digital content into iPad compatible content. Today, we can see most print or digital media companies like Time of India, WSJ, NDTV etc. having their own iPad apps and boasting of millions of readers across the globe.

They have been successful in converting their content to various platforms but in India, interactivity in ads is still missing to a great extent and thus not many readers on tablets or mobile phones remember seeing an ad leave alone seeing an ad of a particular brand.

These benefits carry over to the magazines themselves, according to new findings from a research outfit Affinity’s VISTA Digital service, which tracks consumption of digital magazines on iPads and other mobile devices.

Affinity measured reader response to a variety of interactive digital ad formats on mobile devices, including sponsored videos, photo galleries and 3D product views.

Among readers who tapped on the screen to interact with sponsored videos, 88% said they enjoyed the experience, 87% said it enhanced the magazine reading experience, 88% said they learned more about the product, and 89% now view the brand as innovative as a result.

For photo galleries, 92% said they enjoyed the experience, and for 3D views, 93% said the same. Ninety-two percent said it enhanced their magazine experience, 91% said they learned more about the product, and 92% said they viewed the brand as innovative as a result.

Last week, another company released survey data suggesting that digital magazine advertising on tablets is more effective at engaging consumers than e-readers, with 55% of consumers who read magazines on tablet devices saying they “noted” a magazine ad displayed on their devices, compared to just 41% for e-readers.

August 20th, 2011

Nokia, Polar Mobile lay plans for 300-plus new apps

Nokia is teaming with Canada-based Polar Mobile to roll out more than 300 new applications for Nokia devices over the coming year. Polar Mobile will be introducing 50 apps in the next month, including “a variety of customers from China, Indonesia, the Middle East, Britain, France, the United States and Canada across a variety of verticals, including news, sports, entertainment and lifestyle,” said CEO of Polar Mobile, Kunal Gupta.

The apps will be compatible with Nokia’s Symbian, MeeGo and Windows Phone devices.

“All device manufacturers are starting to recognize that consumers are purchasing new handsets not only based on price, form factor and carrier, but also based on the ecosystem of Apps available,” he said. “Apps are dominating consumer mindshare and as a result will dominate device sales in the future.”

August 19th, 2011

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