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Samsung, LG target India’s surging online market

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been expanding into India’s fast-growing online market to diversify their sales channels amid the prolonging COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry officials Sunday.

Like other electronics firms, the two Korean companies have struggled with business there as their offline marketing activities have hit a snag due to the Indian government’s lockdown restrictions.

They said they are beefing up their e-commerce sales channels at a time when India’s online market has been experiencing an explosive growth in the wake of the virus pandemic, prompting consumers to purchase their goods online.

Early this month, LG Electronics’ India branch launched its own online store as part of its efforts to expand its direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales channel.

LG, which is the largest home appliance maker in India, said it decided to open the online store to ride on the increasing popularity of the e-commerce market and added it plans to increase the number of items available in the online mall.

“The company-owned e-store will focus on the premium-end products with an assortment of 150 models right now, but will eventually sell 60 percent to 70 percent of its entire portfolio,” Deepak Taneja, LG Electronics India business head, told local media.

The Indian branch added LG will use its network of existing warehouses and will outsource delivery of appliances ordered via its online shopping mall to third-party logistics firms.

“The entire buying process will be run and controlled by LG and we have tied up with logistic companies for last-mile delivery from our warehouses Online sales for us have grown by 100 percent by value in the last one year while it has been 30 percent to 35 percent for the industry,” Taneja said.

The Indian unit will initially start the delivery of products through its online mall in a limited number of cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Kolkata and Bengaluru, and will expand to other major cities.

Samsung Electronics’ Indian unit is also trying to expand its online sales. Last month, the tech giant said it forecasts its online store to contribute nearly 10 percent of its overall business in mobiles and consumer electronics.

To accomplish the goal, the company has launched a series of online promotions such as the Samsung Referral Program, which enables its existing customers to help their family and friends in getting discounts on phones and other products.

On Aug. 13, the Indian unit announced the launch of a new service called Experience Samsung at Home, to enable consumers to explore and purchase Samsung’s Galaxy devices such as smartphones, tablet PCs and wearables.

Samsung said consumers who want to try out or purchase the Galaxy devices are required to register for the program online. Once booked, an employee from a nearby Samsung retail store will visit their home with the requested products.

The company elaborated the measure to help its offline retailers has “resulted in a sharp recovery in our smartphone business post-lockdown.”-The Korea Times

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