Motorola to start selling via offline stores in India

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Motorola, owned by China’s Lenovo, is preparing for a major sales shift away from its online-only strategy, as it plans to make its smartphones available in brick-and-mortar stores as well.

The brand has been selling its products exclusively through online marketplace Flipkart in the country. Its online-only strategy helped it gain significant market share till Indian and Chinese players came with their respective online-only strategies, which made a dent in Motorola’s India sales.

The brand’s move would make its smartphones available to a much wider consumer base, underlining the importance of the South Asian nation. “Motorola will go offline to make sure that more people buy Motorola products from brick-and-mortar stores in India,” Chen Xudong, President. mobile business group, Lenovo and chairman, Motorola Mobility operation board, told ET. He however added that online will remain an important part of the brand’s sales strategy in India.

Motorola will also be leveraging its parent company Lenovo’s offline retail strength. Lenovo, which is one of the largest PC makers in India, has a significant offline channel in the country. Xudong said that people in India are still buying devices through the offline retail channel, and have not completely shifted to ecommerce sites, thus it makes sense to broaden the customer base for the Motorola brand.

Lenovo will continue positioning Motorola as a premium and separate brand in India, while the parent Lenovo portfolio of smartphones will be positioned as the mass market brand. Xudong said that the company may also look at bringing its online-only smartphone brand Zuk in India. “Zuk is Xiaomi like model from Lenovo. The motive behind this brand is to try the new business model and be successful in that space. Currently, the focus is to make it a success in China,” he said.

Lenovo Tuesday said that it has begun local manufacturing of smartphones under Motorola and the parent Lenovo brand at Sriperumbudur near Chennai through its global contract manufacturing partner Flextronics.

Lenovo is currently making the 4G variant of Moto E smartphone in India, and expects to produce the newest variants of Moto G and Moto X smartphones in India soon, Amit Boni, general manager of Motorola India said.

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