Retail bags 9-10% of Telenor India's revenues: Upanga Dutta

Thus unveling the Telenor India's mantra of surpassing the retail outlet count of bigger incumbents Upanga Dutta, CMO, Telenor India spoke to Retailer Media.
Upanga Dutta, CMO, Telenor India

Telenor India has made its retail as one of the best-performing retail models in the telecom Industry with adopting the successive strategies like low cost sustainable franchisee  formats, making its express stores as multi-purpose destination for all the telecom needs and operating the stores network through Advance Retail Management System. Thus unveling the  Telenor India's mantra of surpassing the retail outlet count of bigger incumbents Upanga Dutta, CMO, Telenor India spoke to Retailer Media. 

How Telenor 'Expres Stores' are increasingly becoming important for the company?
Telenor India is a mobile operator with mass market focus. We offer affordable and relevant voice and data services across our 6 operational circles. Presence of branded Retail stores with seamless customer experience is imperative in building a strong Telenor brand in the marketplace. In the context of Indian Telecom business, Telenor’s Branded Retail presence is known for its low cost sustainable franchisee formats with higher throughputs in combination with innovative, use of technology to be more efficient and a true multi-purpose destination for all telecom needs of our customers.

Telenor India has one of the largest retail network in the telecom sector with 3,92,000 point of sales and franchise run exclusive retail footprint is around 2100 stores. The 2100 stores are the small format 'Express Stores' -measuring between 100-200 sq ft with 1-2 seats basis space- to ensure servicing its customers to the last mile. It takes about 7 days and less than Rs 1 lac to set up stores. Telenor Retail or 80 percent stores are in tier I,II and III towns including in the tehsil headquarters.

What are your strategies that helped you to surpass the retail outlet count of bigger incumbents?
Telenor follows a three-pronged strategy which includes –identifying customer needs thus helping them choose the right product; service adoption to internet as a new category, and customer education which is way beyond customer service. Innovations like rocket recharge, where the retailer is able to advise the customer on the best tariff plan available based on his usage pattern, has been a great success. Hence to ensure a uniform experience for our customers, Telenor has strengthened and expanded its retail network.

How you could make your retail as one of the best-performing models in the telecom Industry?
Our vast network of retail stores is supported and driven by an in-house automated channel management system termed as ARMS (Advance Retail Management System). It gives a competitive edge to Telenor by collecting real time stock status, logistics and customer spending trends among many other things. The data helps in formulating better strategies with cost synergies in the system. The program was developed for India and has now been replicated in other Telenor business units in Asia like Thailand, Myanmar and  Telenor business units in Europe.

Telenor stores are becoming the centres of multi-purpose activities? Please explain.
The Telenor Stores are not only selling and serving customers but also acting as customer Education centres too. Telenor has so far converted over 350 stores into Grahak Shiksha Kendras (Customer education hubs) where trained CREs (Customers relationship executives) imparts digital knowledge and skills to the customers. We have converted 350 of our retail stores into Grahak Shiksha Kendras. These customer education centres acts as the first step towards acquiring digital skills. They try to take away the fear of technology from the minds of the first time users and educate them about safe Internet practices.

Telenor retail stores also offer one of its kind value added services like free life insurance resulting in customer delight. Telenor Retail has the privilege of establishing 2 back to back Guinness world records. Recently Guinness Book of World Records awarded Telenor India with Title for ‘Most Stores launched simultaneously’. Telenor Retail launched 472 stores simultaneously across its 6 operating circles, bettering its existing record of 362 stores in a day.

How are you converting customers into advocates by providing a spontaneous user experience across channels and deriving customer loyalty?
At Telenor India, we ensure that the products are easy to understand, simple and fair to use and makes ‘life full paisa vasool’ for our customers. Telenor India has one of the largest retail network and presence in the 6 circles where we are commercially present. We have retail footprint of nearly 4 lakh POS (point of sales) and nearly 2100 exclusive Telenor stores. These stores help Telenor deliver the best to the customer’s at the most affordable prices.

To ensure quality service experience delivery to customers, Telenor has used technology to the fullest and extended it to all touch points so that it can meet the customer’s expectations. Data Analytics and crunching is done to identify the industry trends and the same is shared with customer facing employees.

At what rate you are adding Stores?
In April 2014, Telenor entered the Guinness Book of World Records with launch of 362 stores in a single day. This remained unbeaten by any other operator (or any retail group) till last year when Telenor decided to give another spurt to Retail expansion. An expansion of this scale would take months in normal course but by stretching its potential, Telenor has successfully gone deeper with its retail footprint across its markets in one stroke.

How much does e-commerce contribute to your growth?
Telenor has kick started an aggressive campaign to enhance its digital presence where tech savvy customers can use Telenor App or the website to fulfil their mobile service needs 24x7. This is in line with Telenor global strategy of digitalization.

What is the revenue target from retail for the current fiscal and for 2018?
Retail attributes to 9-10% of Telenor India's revenues currently. We are a customer centric company and our retail presence is the mainstay of our business. We cannot give a specific number on revenue targets. Telenor has been growing faster than industry growth rate and we hope to continue on our growth trajectory in the coming quarters too. Retail will continue to grow in line with our organization goals and objectives and strive to enhance presence across its 6 operating circles. 

Upanga Dutta
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