Mobile phone retailers left in the lurch; lament Xiaomi’s flawed offline strategy

Mobile phone retailers body AIMRA blames Xiaomi for one-sided deal

Mobile phone retailers across India are a worried lot. And, the discomfort springs from what they term as a ‘one-sided’ deal inked with mobile devices manufacturer Xiaomi.  As many as 20,000 dealers of Mi branded devices have complained that there is a lack of clarity in retail and billing policy, which in turn has impacted their business irrevocably.

The All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), a representative body of mobile phone retailers in the country stated that there has been a lack of openness in the way Xiaomi has been conducting business with the retailers. This situation has pushed retailers of Mi branded smart devices in these difficult times.

Speaking to Digpu News Network, Navneet Pathak, national joint general secretary of AIMRA, pointed out that the mobile devices company has taken a regressive approach in the way it has been treating the retailers who have an agreement, though one-sided, with the company to sell its devices through their offline stores.

Retailers who have always been enthusiastic about bringing the latest devices to eager customers soon after their launch are now left hanging, as the company has ignored them fully and are making available the new products only through e-commerce marketplaces.

Mobile phone retailers body AIMRA stresses need for equal rights, equal products  

“When a new mobile phone is made available on the day of the launch on the online web stores with much celebration, customers flock to them to lay their hands on the fresh products. What comes as even painful is the fact that these products are sent out to the offline retailers for sale only a month later. Further still, the company has been insisting that the offline stores need to sell them for a higher price. Customers generally wouldn’t wait to buy a new smart device a month after its launch when they can buy it immediately after launch the online markets, Pathak elaborated, stressing the need for equal rights and equal products for the offline retailers.  

The AIMRA’s efforts to let the company understand their plight have fallen on deaf ears. Letters have been sent to the Xiaomi bosses, but instead of considering their plea, the company has shot back at the retailers alleging slander by the AIMRA.

Read the letter written by AIMRA Nat. Joint Secretary, Mr Naveen Pathak to Mr Manu Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Xiaomi India here.

Read the letter written by AIMRA Nat. Joint Secretary, Mr Naveen Pathak to Mr Sunil Baby, Senior Director, Xiaomi India here.

A slew of letters have been mailed to the Xiaomi sales team but the company has resorted to blaming the retailers for not playing perfect partners to the company.  

Stating that the agreement made between the retailers and the company was one-sided and favoured only the mobile devices firm, Pathak said the retailers were forced to agree to a header branding at their outlets.

Mobile phone retailers left in the lurch; lament Xiaomi’s flawed offline strategy - Digpu News
Sunny Electronics and Balaji Communication based in Jaipur, Rajasthan

Further, the deal pushed retailers into agreeing to 50% of in-store branding, and a major share of counter sales. The agreement copy was not allowed to be countersigned and only photocopies of the agreement were shared with the retailers. This is totally baffling, Pathak lamented.

AIMRA alleges lack of clarity on Xiaomi’s retail and billing policy

Also, the lack of clarity on Xiaomi’s retail and billing policy for the Mi preferred partners and general retailers are yet to be addressed. In effect, the company stance undervalues the worth of branding it has placed at its offline partners, Pathak added.

AIMRA stated that they had taken efforts to let the government know of their plight multiple times, but all these pleas have been ignored until now.

The association also feels that the company is cheating the offline customers by taking away their opportunity to buy the devices soon after launch.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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