Saturday, February 26, 2011

Leveraging the mobile penetration in India

India has seen one of the fastest increases in mobile subscriptions, in the world. We currently have more mobile phones in India than land lines. Almost everyone has one today – from a galley-wala tea stall to a farmer in a village. Part of the reason behind such an explosion of mobile usage could be the ubiquitously available low-cost Chinese mobile handsets and the lowering costs for maintaining a subscription.

Potential utilities on a typical Indian mobile phone

Businesses across the developed economies, and retailers in particular, have leveraged on consumer technology trends – web, social media, mobile, location-aware apps, etc. Large retailers like GAP, JC Penny, etc have leveraged these technologies for publishing promotions to consumers. Unlike the developed economies, the mobile revolution in India is not as much about touch screen phones with internet connectivity as it is about pervasive usage of mobiles by the general population. Hence, the strategies for leveraging the mobile subscription base in India should be different from the strategies in the Western world.

Potential application for mobile at each of the Retail Stakeholders

In India, I feel the strategies for leveraging mobile penetration should be different for the different stakeholders in the company. Though the business scenario of each retailer is different, I think, in general, the following applications could be considered –