Onward Mobility, which is focusing on offline retail of mobile applications, has opened its own applications retail outlet at InOrbit Mall, Vashi in Navi Mumbai. While the company has been aggressively vocal about its decision to choose offline retail of applications over the lower cost option of online retail – pointing towards challenges of discovery, payments and trust – choosing to launch its own retail outlet is an unexpected step because of the costs it involves.
So far, Onward Mobility has built a network of – it claims – 10,000 retailers for its applications. The split, as Arun Menon, CEO of Onward Mobility had explained to us earlier, was that the content developer gets around 10%-25% of net revenue after taxes, the same percentage goes to the retailer, while the distributor’s share is between 8%-15%. So with a retail rollout, the company will probably retain the retailer and distributor share, and the question that you have to ask (we’re yet to hear back from them), is whether the cost of physical retail is worth it. So far we’ve seen online classifieds – matrimonial and travel businesses – launch offline stores for assisted internet surfing.
While retail costs depend entirely on location and space, it’s hard to guess how much the overall cost will be for the company, over a month, but this is a good opportunity for it to test the retail business for itself – of perhaps experimenting with its product portfolio of apps and then some more, getting into handsets and high margin gadget related products like iPad covers and sleeves, among other things. In that context, the name chosen – MobiWorld – is an interesting one because it communicates to the customer that the company is retailing anything mobile. Could this also be Onward Mobility’s way of making a lateral entry into the mobile retail business, by starting with apps first.
Apart from the retail rollout, Onward Mobility has also expanded its product portfolio to include games with MobiGames, a pack of 10 games, powered by Herocraft.