Sanjay Kaul, former Country Manager, Apple India, launched Sofyx, a social commerce platform for general traders dealing in smartphones and accessories.
The platform enables business networking, engagement, real-time feedback, and community building amongst the stakeholders. Besides, it helps drive business transactions between various partners. Sofyx also streamlines and digitizes in-store operations, buying, as well as customer interactions.
One of the key goals for the company is to improve customer retention and drive footfall to these small retailers. With this intent, the company is launching its services with top smartphone selling shops in Delhi NCR. These shops contribute to over Rs. 2000 crore in smartphone revenue per year.
Once celebrated for building two key smartphone businesses from scratch, Kaul is now dedicating himself to making technology accessible and affordable for small retailers.
To help achieve the vision, Kaul is supported by his Co-founder Mukesh Kachroo, former Chief Technology Officer, GAIN Capital Group, USA, ending a 16-year-long tenure with the company. Mukesh had joined GAIN in its early formative years as a start-up and saw it through public IPO to being the no. 1 FX firm in the US.
During his days at BlackBerry and Apple, Kaul observed and identified various challenges in the unorganised retail that constitutes 93 per cent of the total retail business in India. Although a significant contributor to the country’s economy, the unorganized General Trade sector in India has been disconnected from the digital ecosystem. With the smartphone industry growing at a double-digit rate, Sofyx bridges the gap and brings together the mobile reseller community along with other stakeholders like telecom operators, device manufacturers, distributors, and other vendors on a single platform. To put things in context, in 2018, 140 million smartphones were sold in India with just over half of those selling from general trade retailers.
According to Kaul, while larger businesses may be positioned well to plug into a rapidly evolving digital India, smaller businesses still lag behind. “I firmly believe we can transform these small stores into a significant channel that brands, distributors, and customers would love to engage with”, he says.
“Our estimates show that general trade in India sells over $ 12 billion worth of mobile phones a year. In the next five years, this business will grow to about $ 16 billion a year as feature phone market transitions to smartphones. There are more than three lakh general trade shops selling mobile phones in the country and they are spread out in every nook and corner of India. Sofyx will enable a significant number of these stores by partnering with them as their single point technology partner”, Kaul further added.