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Vivo India unveils new model to connect offline retailers with customers

Vivo India on Sunday said it is piloting a new model where it will share leads of potential customers with retailers to enable business continuity for its retail partners amid the lockdown.

Under the ”Vivo Smart Retail” model, the handset maker will accept product-related queries from customers, and pass on the leads for sales to retailers that are in the vicinity of the customer, Vivo India Director (Brand Strategy) Nipun Marya told PTI.

He added that about 20,000 retailers will be part of the programme, and about 30,000 Vivo brand ambassadors or VBAs (staff who were working in stores offering product details and demos) will help address consumer queries.

“We are starting with an SMS number that customers can send in their queries to. The VBAs will connect with them and address their concerns. This lead will then be passed onto the retailer, who can decide whether they can deliver the device or the VBAs can do it,” he said.

Marya said Vivo will also allow customers to express interest via its social media channel and website by May 12. The pilot will be initiated in a phase-wise manner with the objective to be available pan-India.

Marya said while some retailers present in red zones are also there in the programme, the service will be available in orange and green zones currently in compliance with government rules.

“There is definitely pent-up demand for smartphones. People are working from home, there are online classes and therefore, people are looking at buying devices. A majority of Indian smartphone consumers still prefer to buy smartphones offline but we think the current scenario may see people still preferring to stay indoors. This model can help users get access to a wide portfolio of devices,” he said.

The model will also help retailers whose sales have been impacted severely by the lockdown that started from March 24, he added.

Asked about resumption in manufacturing, Marya said Vivo”s facilities are not operational yet given that these are located in red zone. The company will wait for government clearances to re-start the operations.

Smartphone shipment in the country is expected to decline by 10 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though the January-March quarter saw smartphone shipment growing at modest 4 percent with over 31 million units, according to Counterpoint Research. Xiaomi led the market with 30 percent share of the smartphone shipment, followed by Vivo (17 percent), Samsung (16 percent), Realme (14 percent) and Oppo (12 percent) in the first quarter.

The research firm had said “any signs of recovery will likely only start from the third quarter onwards”.

The government has extended the lockdown – imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection – till May 17 with some relaxations for locations in orange and green zones.

Under the new guidelines, shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes. However, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.

―Outlook India

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