Offline phone retailers accuse Samsung of misusing customer data to drive sales on its site


New Delhi: Offline retailers have accused mobile phone brand Samsung of misusing customer data to divert sales from the offline channel to Samsung.com.

Samsung had distributed gift vouchers worth Rs 10,000 each for buying its Note20 from mom-and-pop stores. “But those vouchers could only be redeemed at Samsung.com,” the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) said in a letter to Ken Kang, Samsung India’s mobile business head.

“Our pre-booked customers are receiving messages with better deals and discounts as an “Only for you” offer where they are being offered an extra benefit of Rs 2000 making it Rs.12,000 if they buy the pre-booked handset from Samsung.com.”

Samsung didn’t immediately respond to an emailed query from ET.

The body has also threatened to take legal action against the brand if it does not stop sending emails and messages to customers of offline retail.

“This is a clear strategy to divert our customers deliberately to your online portals. You will also be pitching better deals and offers for all your upcoming products to be bought from your portals, which is again unfair, unethical and an absolute breach of trust,” AIMRA said in the letter.

Samsung India’s Senior Vice President Asim Warsi, in a statement last month said that the brand is targeting 10% sales from its own ecommerce channel, driven by various programs launched by the company including buyback scheme, student offers and referral program.

Warsi also told ET in an interview recently that the company is equally invested in both online and offline channels. “We don’t decide the channel on behalf of consumers. The most important task is to create innovation which will create demand,” he said. “Over 25 years us being India, most strategic investments have been towards offline expansion and growing the channel.”

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The retailers’ group which represents 1.5 lac mobile phone sellers also said that the unavailability of Samsung tablets in the offline channel has created an opportunity for rival brand Lenovo to fill the gap. Samsung tablets are exclusively sold on Samsung.com and e-commerce partners Amazon and Flipkart.





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