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Updated: Spice Launches Online Mobile Shop Saholic.com; Review & Suggestions


Update: As one of our readers informs, Spice has added the ‘compare’ functionality to compare phone specs. in the ‘Research’ list column.

Spice Group has recently launched an online mobile phone store, dubbed as Saholic.com. In addition to mobile handsets, the portal also offers mobile accessories  including batteries, Bluetooth headsets, and memory cards, among others. Spice already operates a chain of mobile retail stores, which it re-branded last year as Spice Hotspots from Hotspots, to give more visibility to the brand.

The website categorizes handsets on the basis of brands and between cost segments such as high-end, low-end, basic and business phones. They can be further filtered on the basis of features and price. The site promises next day delivery for most destinations in India. This, it says is due to the fact that it manages inventory on its own. Infact, it can inform about the delivery time before a customer places an order, by his area pin-code. When we tried to short-list a Samsung Galaxy S phone, the site informed us that the delivery takes 4 days for the Central Delhi Pin-code 110001.

These days, there has been a lot of talk about users coming online to research about products, rather than buying them. Spice, which also runs offline stores has tried to leverage on this aspect and has dedicated a twin-frame page for each product to enable customers to browse through its features in detail. Although, it says that the page gives a complete experience of the product, we found it limited to a few images and text details. Suggestion: We would have loved a 360 degree product view and an embedded product demonstration video to get a real look and feel of the product.

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The site also lets users select phone models and add it to a ‘Research’ list. We did not get the motive behind this list, since its just a ‘wish list’, without any additional functionality. Suggestion: Spice could have added a ‘Compare’ button to compare specs, after one selects phones and puts them in the ‘Research’ list. Also, the site does not offer user reviews and experiences.

Its also time, e-commerce web sites stop abusing the term ‘best deal’. Saholic has a section with this name, which promises lower prices. When we checked other e-commerce websites, we found their ‘best deal’ prices to be on the expensive side. For example, a Samsung Nexus S phone retails at Rs 26,900 on Saholic, while Flipkart offers it at Rs 25,499, with a Cash On delivery payment option and an in-transit insurance. P.S - Note that we don’t endorse any e-commerce venture and this is just a comparative survey.

Saholic does not offer a Cash on Delivery, net banking and cheques as payment options. Neither does it offer an in-transit insurance a.k.a Flipkart. This, when Spice has a network of offline stores which could have been leveraged for deliveries.

The venture comes at a time when Spice Group is in the process of repositioning Spice Mobility and bringing its handset, retail and VAS operations under one umbrella. The company also has plans to dominate the Indian mobile retail, with a seven cluster distribution model. However, it needs to do some serious work on Saholic, for the site to take off.

Related:
Spice Mobility Plans To Become A Mobile Internet Company

  • Utk

     There seems to be a compare functionality in the “My Research” section. This seems to be an omission on your part.

    • Anonymous

      The feature was not there, at the time of writing this post. Check the screen-shot.

  • Adsfh

     another venture doomed to failure

  • Sharad

     Anupam – what’s the big deal with in-transit insurance? How does it help the customer. All good sites provide a protection to the customer if the product does not reach the customer or it reaches in a damaged state. In such cases the site will refund or provide a replacement. Site such as flipkart which claim free transit insurance are misleading the customer. They are claiming to provide the customers something that they are entitled to anyways. Not any different from what flipkart claims as a great deal for customers when they claim that they are providing a reebok watch worth 3999 free with a product of the same price, when that watch is a fake with a landing price of less than 200.

    You seem to have put a disclaimer that you dont endorse flipkart. Why?

    • Anonymous

      We do not endorse any e-commerce website. We mentioned it since we were comparing Saholic with Flipkart.Also, regarding transit insurance, a customer is more likely to buy from a site which informs him/her of the same. I just pointed that out.   

  • Sharad

    There is another error in the part where you have compared the saholic and fk prices. The two companies are selling different product. Saholic is selling Nexus S I9023 (at least this was true when I checked last week) while fk is selling Nexus S. The former was launched in India in Apr 2011, whereas the latter was never launched in India but launched abroad in Apr 10 (more than a year back). I called Samsung and they told me that Nexus S I9023 is the only officially supported phone in India and Nexus S should not be sold in India. I also called fk last week and they confirmed that they are selling Nexus S and not Nexus S I9023. So my sense is that they are either importing or selling gray market stuff, which may/may not be serviceable in India.

    I also did a comparison of the two products on both gsmarena and 91mobiles and these showed up as different products. On 91mobiles, the price of Nexus S is 25490 and that of Nexus S I9023 is 27700. Also fk seems to have revised the price of Nexus S recently to 26900. Perhaps their imported/gray stock is over and they are now selling the Indian product.

    My suggestion to the journalist on medianama is to do some more diligence when posting such things – mobile phones market in India is extremely dynamic and confusing. Prices change so frequently and there are so many models that have confusingly similar names. While the prices of most genuine branded products are usually in a narrow band, the gray market products can add to the confusion. If the customer is willing to take a chance then he can do so on places such as ebay and he will get a great price – but he may not always get a bill or warranty in India.