World’s third largest Smartphone distributor, Xiaomi has ended its exclusive partnership with Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart. Their range of phones will now be available on Amazon and Snapdeal too, besides Flipkart.
The Smartphone company announced on their Facebook page, which partially read as, “Introducing Amazon India and Snapdeal as our new online partners. You will have more options to purchase your favourite Mi products.”
Senior Vice President- electronics and home of Snapdeal, Mr Tony Navin said, “We are excited to partner with Xiaomi to launch its highly sought-after range of smartphones and accessories to our customers across the country. We believe that the extensive delivery network panning across Tier-2 and-3 cities and towns of India will be of great value to Xiaomi in reaching out to a segment of consumers seeking true value in their devices.”
The company, which is popular worldwide, was an unknown mobile brand in India until it tied up with Flipkart for exclusive sale in July 2014. The launch was such a hit that the first batch on the portal was sold out within 39 minutes whereas the second allegedly in mere 5 seconds. A series of flash sales and new product launches on the ecommerce site continued until December 2014, which made Xiaomi a sought-after brand in India and number 5 in the Smartphone ranking (4% market share in India as of Dec 2014).
According to some reports, Xiaomi is not happy with the recent drop in their sales rate on Flipkart. The brand was not very pleased either with the criticism they had to face due to flash sales. Based on a news report published on Economic Times, business experts believe that ‘its online-only strategy has reached a saturation point, as indicated by its dipping import numbers.’ This could have prompted the shift in loyalty.
Also, the rising popularity has given Xiaomi the confidence to go solo and expand its reach through other offline and online channels rather than sticking to one portal.
Besides getting on-board with Snapdeal and Amazon, Xiaomi also sells through their own website. Physical presence in various The Mobile Store outlets & Airtel stores also indicates Xiaomi’s strategy to have offline presence too. And their Facebook page is one of the most active company pages, which is regularly updated with contest alerts and new product launch posts.
So exclusive partnerships with online partners will continue to take place but importance of offline electronic stores can’t be ignored either. Important thing to remember is neither ecommerce sites nor offline stores can be obsolete or absolute future. They both need to co-exist.