Our focus has always been to provide innovative products – Shripal Gandhi CEO,Swipe Telecom

Shripal GandhiCEO  Swipe Telecom India Pvt Ltd

Shripal Gandhi
CEO Swipe Telecom India Pvt Ltd

Q). What is your present focus of operations in India?

We founded Swipe with a very clear Focus. To provide innovative products with the latest technology to our customers. It is due to our breakthrough innovations and cutting edge technological deployments that we have a PAN- India Presence. We are officially the No. 1 Tablet manufacturer in Rajasthan, No. 2 in Mumbai, and a leading brand in the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana. We are growing by leaps and bounds, and are moving towards extend our wide portfolio of products internationally in the near future.

Q). How are you aligning your channel roadmap to target new customer segment?

The youth is the future of the country, and it’s also the fastest growing consumer segment. Over 50-70% Smart device users are within 18-35 years of age, and we have made a conscious effort to design products that appeal to them. Our Association with MTV has further helped us connect to newer customer segments through trend-setting products like the MTV VOLT 1000 and The MTV SLASH.  We have Fablets and Tablets to suit every taste and budget, helping us venture into different and diverse market segments.

Q). What is your channel policy in India? What kind of channel expansion are you looking for in the near future?

Swipe Telecom’s business strategy is based on one philosophy – “Affordable cutting-edge technology”.

And towards this we have a four-pronged go-to-market strategy specifically designed for an acutely heterogeneous market like India.

One, we have entered high-growth potential “Non-Metro” markets in the initial phase and achieved leadership position in each of these markets. Two, we retail our products through online as well offline sales channels i.e. through our website as well as through a well-oiled dealer network. Three, we are targeting India’s youth which constitutes over 50% of India’s population by way of tying-up with MTV, Quickheal, Pickme etc. And four, we have cherry-picked wholesalers, dealers and shopkeepers that have a long-standing reputation in the market place, thereby giving added assurance of genuineness to the consumers.

Q). What is your growth strategy here? What are the engines of growth for Swipe in India?

In less than a year, Swipe has gone from being a 4-person organization to employing over 112 people; we are profitable – in an industry that operates on wafer-thin margins in India; our Founder and CEO Mr.Shripal Gandhi was featured in CNBC’s Young Turks; World Brand Congress has voted Swipe as the most innovation driven company in 2012; we have built an unconventional approach to product development by reducing design- cycle time to 3 weeks flat, which is a huge achievement. It ensures that we can get the latest technology to our customers, in the shortest possible time. It is due to our relentless hard work that we are officially the No. 1 Tablet manufacturer in the state of Rajasthan, and a leading company in the states of Punjab, Gujarat, Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh.

With a slew of new cutting edge products in the pipeline, and increased visibility via rigorous marketing, we are positive that we will be able to grow at an exponential rate in 2013.

India is poised to become the world’s 3rd largest Smartphone market, behind the USA and China. This is a huge untapped market, that Swipe has every intention of catering to. Offering the widest variations of Tablets and Fablets in India, Swipe has the right offering to suit every demographic, budget, taste and need in India.

Q). What kind of strategy have you planned to position Swipe product successfully in the market?

We have positioned Swipe as an exciting, young brand that makes trend-setting products that deliver great value at an affordable price. We also wish to set our legacy as a true innovator, having pioneered a series of firsts in the Indian Market. We became the only company in India to focus exclusively on Fablets and Tablets. We introduced India’s 1st 3D tablet PC- the Swipe 3D life. We designed the first 6” Fablet in the country in partnership with MTV- the Swipe MTV VOLT. We have brought more unique products in the market in the past 1 year than any other company in India. We will continue this streak on innovation in the future. Due to countless hours of R & D and rigorous marketing, Swipe has been successful in projecting itself as a youthful, aspirational brand, and we will ensure that we live upto the standards our users have come to expect from Swipe.

Q) What is the prime focus of Swipe today? What are some of the top priorities for the Company?

Our focus has always been to provide innovative products with the latest technology to our customers. To do that, we have to find ways to remain cost competitive while delivering the best quality product. We have to constantly innovate, to hold our own against established players who have huge advertising budgets.

We are targeting new markets, all the while delivering the best possible service to our existing customers. The challenge is to maintain the necessary infrastructure, to cope up with the tremendous demand that we are seeing for our products.

Q). What are the Growth Drivers?

Our Spirit of innovation, a visionary leadership, our strong commitment to quality, our focus on superior customer service, a dedicated round the clock sales team and the extensive amount of R & D that we undertake to deliver a product that will eventually delight our customers together constitute our Growth Drivers.

Q). What are the new challenges that you face in relation to the Indian market?

There are quite a few challenges for a startup, especially in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry such as ours. We have to recognize changes in customer tastes and adapt almost instantaneously. We have to differentiate our offerings by providing better, faster and more affordable products for our customers. That being said, India is rapidly changing. People are now judging Tablets/Fablets based on their technology, rather than being swayed by huge marketing campaigns.

We have five critical challenges.

One – technological obsolescence. This is an industry-wide challenge but for a Start-Up this challenge is further aggravated.

Two – volatility in the Indian currency. India is going through a rough patch when it comes to maintaining parity of its currency vis-à-vis US dollar. The weakening of the rupee puts extra burden on electronic parts that are mostly imported in to the country.

Three – consumers’ fickle taste. Typical to India, consumer tastes are fickle and their response changes at every 1000 Rs. Within 3 quarters, consumers’ tastes have moved from large-screen Tablets to mid-size screens, from Wi-Fi Tablets to Fablets, etc. What sells in the State of Rajasthan does not necessarily sell in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Four – Low Internet connectivity. India is still reeling under low-internet connectivity outside the Metro cities and semi-Metro cities. This greatly hampers the Tablet “experience”. So, while the ‘Youth’ in non-Metro cities carries the same aspirations of that of a Metro youth, his experience is not similar.

Five – Low awareness for quality products. Price overweighs quality as far as the Indian consumer’s mind goes It makes our job more challenging – resources get guzzled in educating the consumers. And this is being done by a ‘start-up’ for the entire industry.

Q). Are there any plans by the Swipe to get in to expansion mode by entering in to any tie up or partnership?

Within just a year, Swipe has grown exponentially. Our strong work ethics and a stringent adherence to quality have been recognized by several Industry behemoths. We have established strong partnerships with reputable companies like Croma and MTV. We have tie ups with established retail chains like Reliance, TATA, Big Bazaar and Planet M, and our products are featured on the bestsellers list in several of these entities. As we move forward in 2013, we will be looking at forging several new partnerships and Tie-ups, which will help us, bring our products to more and more areas, to eventually benefit our users.

Q). How is the company positioned currently and what is your strategic roadmap for the year ahead?

Swipe is the youngest telecom brand in India, and so we can relate to the youth. We are also one of the most innovation-driven companies in India. We have launched 15 First time products in the market like the Value 8 and the All-in-One, within just one year of launching, and we will keep on pioneering new technologies. Swipe is a brand by the youth, of the youth and for the youth.

In less than a year, Swipe has gone from being a 4-person organization to employing over 112 people; we are profitable – in an industry that operates on wafer-thin margins in India; our Founder and CEO Mr.Shripal Gandhi was featured in CNBC’s Young Turks; World Brand Congress has voted Swipe as the most innovation driven company in 2012; we have built an unconventional approach to product development by reducing design- cycle time to 3 weeks flat, which is a huge achievement. It ensures that we can get the latest technology to our customers, in the shortest possible time. It is due to our relentless hard work that we are officially the No. 1 Tablet manufacturer in the state of Rajasthan, and a leading company in the states of Punjab, Gujarat, Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh.

With a slew of new cutting edge products in the pipeline, and increased visibility via rigorous marketing, we are positive that we will be able to grow at an exponential rate in 2013.

We have an unprecedented 50 new products in the pipeline, which we will launch in the next 12 months. It’s not about volumes, though, because we believe in offering products which are truly unique with huge technology and functional edge. Instead of following the herd like everyone else, we stress on innovation, which is why we are able to cater to the youth centric segment by means of designing products which are truly aspirational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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