Tim Chen, the Chief Executive Officer at InnJoo, speaks to Arabian Reseller about the regional smartphone market, the factors buyers consider when buying a smartphone and the innovations InnJoo is working on to bring to the market.
How is the smartphones market shaping up in the Middle East and Africa region?
This region is experiencing a slower growing affected by the economic situation and unstable currency rate, but some of the markets is stepping into 4G in Middle East, we can still expect a positive increasing speed at entry and mid level 4G products segmentation.
While due to more smartphone vendors coming in with various design and latest technology, and high purchasing power of geek consumers, who keep close eyes on the global players, the replacement cycle is going to be less than before. Consumers have more choice both online and offline. All of these support a promising market ahead.
Has affordable data plans/4G pricing benefited the smartphones market in the region in general?
Yes, data plan has definitely helped the smartphone market in the region especially UAE and KSA. The various data plans available for both prepaid and postpaid customers. Both the service providers Etisalat and Du have come up with various combinations of competitive offerings. And this October Egypt also has stepped into 4G era. We are expecting a rapid changes on smartphone market and data offers.
What sort of features do smartphone buyers go for today?
Exquisite design and good user experience are still considered as the top features for a smartphone, which plays an important role at everyone’s daily life. Even different market have different requirements, camera with higher mega pixel, long-last battery with rapid charge, fingerprint for security, and big memory for saving all kinds of pictures, videos and files, all of these features are becoming the essential features for the well-educated consumers nowadays.
Are smartphone users loyal to certain brands or are they open to new brands if they see the value in it?
Compared to iPhone which has its own operating system, Android users are not really loyal to any particular brands. Most tier A brands spend a lot of marketing dollars to acquire customers, so they want to retain their customers base by offering latest and innovative products. But customers are really open to new brands if they really see the value.
InnJoo have developed its own operation system based on Android to improve the user experience by redesigning user interface and developing easier access to local service and applications.
How do you as a vendor make sure you are above your competition in terms of providing value to your customers?
We deliver the high-quality user experience and latest technology to customers with affordable price. Quality is the most important thing for us. We have been launching quality devices with the latest technology and attractive design. Our focus is to provide best user experience to our customers. We are committed to quality, cutting edge technology and maximum value for our customers by providing competitive consumer electronic products.
How does your company make sure you offer optimum tech and customer support to your customers?
As a brand, we are particular about after sales service and are committed to provide excellent tech and customer support to our customers. On the one hand, we are establishing our own after sales service network in most of strategic market, on the other hands, we are cooperating with local profession service provider and call center, to make sure consumer can get supports easily. Furthermore, consumer can also easily find solutions on our official forum for software problems.
Many smartphone vendors prefer to sell their devices online. Why has the shift happened from brick-and-mortar setup to online sales?
E-commerce has its own advantages, it offers visibility and convenience to the customers and also cost of sales is less, that’s why online platforms are very attractive. The time to market is less and the shelf life is also short and you save various retail expenses.
Do you sell any of your devices online?
InnJoo was started from online by joining hands with the largest e-commerce sites in the region. Most of our products are exclusive to online channels, currently we have also developed offline channels to make InnJoo products accessible and available to experience before buying.
Have you worked with local or regional telecom services providers to launch exclusive devices in the region?
Well, we did work with operators in the region and offered our devices to the customers through operators but this region is mainly open market and our focus is also on the open market. In the meantime, we are engaging with many operators in the region for their device requirements.
How do you work with your channel partners to make sure they are offering optimum customer service and making good amount of margin over products they sell at the same time?
We carefully select our channel partners who can work with us with flexibility and feasibility. For some key models, we strictly control the channel margin and set standard end user price to make sure that the product is competitive in the market, We believe that high specs products are not always labeled with high price tag. While for the high-end products, we are more focusing on the value-added features such as the latest technology, free quality accessories and better user experience, our partners can also get good margin because of the higher selling price.