Transsion Holdings owned Tecno has been making a lot of waves in the smartphone market in India recently. Electronics For You spoke to Arijeet Talapatra and tried to decode the secret behind Tecno’s success in the country
Arijeet Talapatra (AT), CEO, Transsion Holdings India in an exclusive interaction with Electronics For You shed light on the reasons that make Tecno a successful smartphone brand in India. He mentioned that apart from product quality, a superlative distribution network, customer service and game changing service promise have been the reason of TECNO’s success in India.
He said, “Our sales model is based on D2D (Direct to distributor) through which we have removed one layer completely in order to bring the efficiency in the system and at the same time maximize the benefits of channel partners.”
Here are some more excerpts from the interaction.
Que 1 – Please take us through the Tecno products line-up in India? How are they different from other brands?
AT – Ever since its inception in India, TECNO has strived to introduce novelty in its handsets by bringing exceptional camera-centric devices. At TECNO, consumer-centricity is our core and we are committed to make the ‘Any Light’ smartphone photography experience accessible to our consumers by constantly pushing norms to make premium mobile camera technology available to everyone at competitive price-points in the 6-15K segment. In line with our global brand philosophy of “Think Globally, Act Locally”, the TECNO “CAMON” series of smartphones has been meticulously designed keeping in mind the aspirations of today’s tech-savvy millennials who consider smartphone as their first & preferred choice of taking pictures and sharing them via social media.
Our extensive research revealed that Indian youth look for great cameras that can help them shoot at any time of the day, in any light condition. To address this need the software algorithm of TECNO camera is optimized for Indian Skin to deliver natural & brighter photos in any lighting condition.
Our robust product portfolio features at least seven to eight models at any point in time, which is exclusively ‘Made for India – Made in India’. Towards this goal, our latest CAMON offerings in 2019 includes a robust product portfolio with Industry-first features in the segment. TECNO is currently holding the crown for the budget triple rear smartphone ‘CAMON i4’ which has been making rounds for its outstanding camera prowess, 16MP AI selfie, Android 9 Pie, 6.2-inch dot Notch display and bigger battery with rocket charge feature enabling consumers to pick their favorite device among the three variants all priced in the sub 12K category.
Another best-selling model is CAMON iACE2x at INR 7299 which again is segment first in sub 8K category offering 3GB RAM, 8MP AI Selfie camera & Anti-oil fingerprint sensor. In addition, CAMON iSKY 3 at INR 8599 is a future-ready “AI-power packed” device designed to cater to the aspirations of today’s tech savvy youth who want a smartphone that is faster, smarter, cameras that can shoot in any light, battery runs longer and comes loaded with latest innovation at the best value for money.
Que 2 – Tecno is one of the most popular brands in the offline markets today, how have you made this possible?
AT – TECNO mobile, the global premium smartphone brand which made its inroads in the country in April’17 with three pilot markets of Gujarat, Rajasthan & Punjab and expanded to PAN India presence by Dec’17. Year 2018 was the year of CAMON series build-up which led to TECNO becoming the fastest growing smartphone brand in 2018 witnessing 221% YOY growth as per India’s Mobile Phone market for Q4 2018 report by Counterpoint Research.
TECNO’s successful innings in India has been possible due to its go-to market strategy, localizations and differential marketing approach. Apart from product quality, a superlative distribution network, customer service and game changing service promise have been the reason of TECNO’s success in India.
TECNO has a robust distribution network across India. Our trade practices are very strong & transparent which leads to the delight of our partners. We focus our activities with a quick turnaround of stocks for every distributor as well as retailer, which ensures a stronger relationship with us. All our TECNO products are supported by extensive service network of Carlcare with 950+ after-sales service touch points pan India.
Last but not the least, we were first in the industry to introduce beyond the standard warranty and came out with a brand promise of “111’ under which a consumer is entitled to a 1-time screen replacement within six months, 100 days’ free replacement, and 1-month extended warranty on any TECNO device that he/ she buys.
Que 3 – What’s the reason behind Tecno being an offline first brand in the country? Don’t you think that Tecno smartphones can do good for the brand in online channels too?
AT – India is a huge market and as far as smartphone users go, there is still a large consumer base yet to be tapped, especially when 4G penetration is experiencing a rapid growth. And this growth is majorly from tier II and III cities as compared to metros & tier 1 market. Also, the consumer from these markets cite benefits such as the touch-and-feel experience before purchase decision and an immediate gratification instead of waiting for the delivery.
Offline still remains the largest channel for mobile phone distribution in India and is crucial for the long-term success for any brand in India. And most importantly, we already had a strong distribution network for itel and hence, we thought to leverage our offline strength and unlike other brands who are focusing only on key cities, we went deeper where mass India resides in tier 2, 3 and below markets. We are happy to share that “CAMON” series launched in the beginning of the 2018, equipped us with a strong start and led the growth trajectory of TECNO in India by growing QoQ.
Que 4 – Tell us something about the new marketing campaign? Which TG is Tecno trying to target with the same?
Recently, we have launched first 360-degree brand campaign for the year ‘#TECNOShineInAnyLight’ which is active across touch-points of TV, digital, on-ground & retail started from 2nd May’19. The campaign includes a series of three documentary style films featuring Vicky Roy – A Rag Picker turned street photographer, Chandani Srivastava – A Street Dancer turned Choreographer, and Toshada Uma – The Hairless Fashion Model celebrating individuality and strength of mind and people who believe in paving their own way in life against all odds.
Each film is a storytelling of ‘Shine in Any Light’ philosophy of these individuals for whom life is all about living their passion and achieving success no matter the darkness. The campaign is targeted towards the youth of the country that is free and open-minded. They are the ones who do not get influenced and are rather liberal about the choices they make in life. It is from this attitude that stemmed the core campaign idea of ‘Shine in any light’ focusing on the belief that for Indian youth life is not just lived, it is performed. Deep inside everyone there is piece of extraordinary waiting to be seen which can be discovered through TECNO’s best ‘AnyLight camera’ lens, which helps the consumer shine their best in any circumstance.
Our target audience is at the middle of the pyramid at the sub 10K market, belonging to the socio-economic classes B, C, D, living in the Tier II & Tier III cities. We intend to tap the young, college-going, first time jobber semi-urban and rural market.
Que 5 – How soon will we see a 5G smartphone from Tecno in India? What will be the price range?
AT – 5G is definitely an exciting technology that can potentially transform the end consumer experience. However, as we stand today, this next generation wireless technology is still in a nascent stage of development, hence the smartphone market will not be impacted till 2022. Our focus is currently on driving deeper penetration of 4G devices.
Que 6 – In terms of presence, which Indian regions are you strongest in? Which ones are you looking to expand now? Will you be comfortable sharing the number of distributors and retailers that Tecno has in its sales channel?
AT – TECNO is available across retail touch points PAN India through a deep distribution network. We are strong in West and North India and growing very fast in East and South.
Que 7 – How difficult is it to project a new smartphone brand in the offline channel? How do tackle these difficulties?
AT -Our business model aims at delighting the customer through the lifecycle. Our sales model is based on D2D (Direct to distributor) through which we have removed one layer completely in order to bring the efficiency in the system and at the same time maximize the benefits of channel partners.
Que 8 – A lot of very popular online smartphone brands have now started expanding in the offline space, do you have a strategy to counter these?
AT – We at TRANSSION believe in Multi-brand strategy by offering eclectic product offerings based on the extensive market insight and consumer segmentation which caters to the lowest strata of users experiencing a smartphone for the first time, as well as giving the best of experience to users wanting to move up towards a premium segment.
Each of our brand has its own distinctive identity and appeal to a distinct user base. More than others, we feel that we are in competition against ourselves. We want to better our products at every step and build exceptional smartphones based on insights of the local market.
Que 9 – What benefits does Tecno provide to its sales channel? In other words, why should a retailer or a distributor choose to connect with Tecno’s sales network?
AT – I feel distribution is all about Investment, Infrastructure, and Involvement. All these three factors are of utmost key consideration to us. Our distribution and retail partners are amongst the top performing entities in their respective geographies.
We offer them the top quality product, retail friendly policies plus great return on investment. Apart from these monetary benefits, we build engagement with key stakeholders by creating competitive opportunities to win the chance to see the TECNO factories in China as well as Foreign trips.