Amazon Launches The All-New Kindle Paperwhite in India

amazon india

amazon indiaToday Amazon announced that the all-new Kindle Paperwhite—is now available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.in and begins shipping February 4, 2014. The new Kindle Paperwhite features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. While, the new Kindle Paperwhite is priced at Rs. 10,999/-, the new Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G model is priced at Rs 13999/-.

Starting February 04, 2014, the new Kindle Paperwhite will also be available offline across 250 retail outlets across India including Croma, Reliance Digital, E-Zone, UniverCell and Vijay Sales stores located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Some features of the all-new Kindle Paperwhite are:

  • New display technology with higher contrast:  Higher contrast and better reflectivity means whites are whiter and blacks are blacker, so the pages are virtually indistinguishable from a physical book.
  • Next generation built-in light—Guides light toward the surface of the display so you can read comfortably without eyestrain.
  • New, 25% faster processor—Books open and pages turn faster for a seamless reading experience.
  • New touch technology—19% tighter touch grid makes Kindle Paperwhite respond even more accurately to the smallest touches.
  • New Kindle Page Flip—Skim page-by-page, scan by chapter, or skip to the end of your book, all without losing your place.
  • New Vocabulary Builder—Compiles words you look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list.
  • New Smart Lookup—Integrates a full dictionary and Wikipedia so you can access definitions, characters, settings and more without leaving your page or losing your place.
  • - New In-line Footnotes—With a single tap, read the complete text of each footnote in-line without changing the page or losing your place in the book.
  • - New Kindle Free Time- Encourage children to read even more with FreeTime for Kindle Paperwhite. FreeTime lets you create personalized profiles for kids and give them access to titles from your collection of books. Children are rewarded with achievement badges that keep track of their personal reading accomplishments. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading; number of words looked up, badges earned and books read.
  • - Cloud Collections—Organize your books in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.

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Online Fashion Retailer Zalora to Launch Marketplace

zaloraZALORA, Asia’s leading online fashion destination, has announced it will be launching ZALORA Marketplace in the first half of this year. With over 15 million visits per month to ZALORA, Marketplace will give independent fashion designers and sellers the opportunity to instantly expand their business to ZALORA’s massive customer base and will greatly increase the product assortment available to customers.

ZALORA Marketplace will allow vendors from all over Southeast Asia and Hong Kong to create their own branded storefront within the ZALORA site, which will be run and maintained by the seller with support from a dedicated ZALORA account manager. They will also benefit from a huge increase in brand exposure through free online marketing and advertising that will be part of ZALORA’s overall marketing campaigns.

Set to be one of the most beneficial fashion Marketplaces in Southeast Asia for independent fashion designers and sellers, customers across the region will also benefit from hundreds to potentially thousands of new products and brands available online without having to visit different shopping portals.

“The upcoming launch of Zalora Marketplace is an exciting development for the fashion industry in Southeast Asia as whole,’ said Magnus Grimeland, Managing Director, ZALORA. “We are launching a platform where up and coming brands, boutiques or designers can sell their products alongside our internationally renowned brands, to an already highly established and loyal customer base. We have over 15 million visits to our Zalora sites per month; for an independent fashion seller to have instant access to this kind of audience is a previously unheard of opportunity.”

A dedicated and localized ZALORA Fashion Scout force is currently searching for and recruiting potential brands and designers to come on board for launch.

“We have found some incredible and exciting designers and sellers so far,” said Grimeland. “We are really looking forward to working with them, nurturing them at this stage of the journey and seeing how far their business can expand through Marketplace.

There has never been a better time than now to bring fashion retail businesses online, especially throughout Asia Pacific where the internet population is already over 200 million people and growing steadily. According to research* around 11%-15% of total global retail sales will be conducted through online channels by 2020, with Asia Pacific accounting for a very large portion of that. For fashion designers and sellers looking to expand their sales and reach, online is the only place to be.”

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Worldwide Combined Shipments of Devices Expected to Reach 2.5 billion Units in 2014

gartner

gartnerAccording to a recent report by Gartner, Worldwide combined shipments of devices like PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones are expected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014. As per the report, among the operating system (OS) market, Android is on pace to surpass one billion users across all devices in 2014.

Commenting on the insights, Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said,”The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products. Meanwhile users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users’ increasingly different demands.”

As per the report, mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014. Ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market from 2014, with a growth rate of 54 percent.

The report forecasts that in the year 2014 the worldwide tablet market will grow to 47 percent with lower average selling prices attracting new users. According to a recent consumer study that Gartner conducted in the third quarter of 2013 across Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, over two-thirds of tablets were used outside the home for activities such as vacation or concert. This is a similar pattern to that of smartphones as smaller form factors are driving more portability outside the home.

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, a seven percent decline from 2013. Driven by an uptake in Windows ultramobiles, the PC market is estimated to remain flat in 2014 (0.2 percent), after a decline of 9.9 percent in 2013. The Gartner consumer survey showed that less than eight per cent of users would replace their laptop with a tablet, while a transfer to an Ultrabook is almost twice this figure.

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In-app Mobile Adspend Expected To Reach $16.9 billion by 2018

juniper

juniperAccording to a recent research report by Juniper Research, In-app mobile adspend is expected to reach $16.9 billion by 2018, up from $3.5 billion last year. As per the report, the growth will be driven by several key factors including improved targeting capabilities, as well as a trend for more effective interactive rich media ads to be deployed in preference to traditional static display advertising.

The report revealed that while smartphones currently account for approximately 70% of in app adspend, the growth in tablet users and usage would propel greater medium-term spend. It observed that tablet in-app adspend would be further fuelled by the fact that CPMs (Cost per 1,000 impressions) are significantly higher than those for smartphones, particularly for rich media ads, which also have higher CPMs than static display ads. By 2018, the tablet/smartphone adspend split is expected to be almost 50/50.

The report also observed that although app downloads will increase exponentially to 2018, the majority of in-app advertising expenditure is likely to be spent on advertising with social mobile giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to the report, by 2018, the Global mobile ad-spend will surpass $39 billion, up from $13 billion in 2013.  Rich media ad spend is expected to surpass display ad spend in apps by 2018, as more engaging ad formats see huge uptake. The report also found that, advertisers can increase conversions by simply adding mobile optimised features, for instance a ‘click to call’ button, or by linking to the relevant app store.

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Zepo : India E-Commerce Census 2013-14 .Your neighborhood businessman goes online!

ecommerce-census

Ecommerce is to small businesses today, what the telephone was in the 90’s – another great medium to take orders!

5 years ago, a designer running a boutique in the HauzKhas village in Delhi, wouldn’t have thought it was possible to sell her dresses all the way to a customer in Chennai. With the growing usage of internet and social media, the far-fetched has become a reality now. And it won’t be long before you find every business in the neighborhood handing out business cards with not just telephone numbers but their website address too!

Zepo, an ecommerce platform, based out of Mumbai, is playing its part in trying to facilitate small retailers and manufacturers across India, setup their own exclusive retail space on the web; their own online stores at literally half the cost.

It recently concluded a survey of the 900+ online stores operating on its platform. The figures not only substantiate the claims that ecommerce is becoming a preferred point of sale among SMEs but also provides insights into the ecommerce trends of small businesses.

India Ecommerce Census

Put your comment in the comments section. Checkout Zepo

 

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All Apple Apps must be optimised for iOS 7 from 1st Feb 2014

Apple Ios7

Apple is requiring all apps submitted to its App Store after 1 February 2014 to be optimised for iOS 7 and built using the latest version of the Xcode 5 development framework. The change applies to both new apps and updates.

Over the past few years, Apple has been encouraging developers to support the latest editions of its OS more rapidly.

This is likely to be even more important with iOS 7, which represents the biggest upgrade in terms of functionality between versions of Apple’s mobile OS, featuring a distinct new look that older apps will not fit into.

According to Apple’s developer support centre, 76 per cent of all iOS devices are running the latest version, compared to 20 per cent using iOS 6.

Xcode 5 includes 64-bit support and access to features such as multitasking APIs. An app can be built against the latest version of Xcode without having to be redesigned, according to TechCrunch, but may need to be reworked to function correctly for iOS 7.

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Windows Phone Store reaches 200,000 apps

windoes-apps

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store now has more than 200,000 titles, with the app store seeing more than 12 million ‘transactions’ per day, the company revealed.

In a post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix, director of the Windows Phone apps team, said the company is “already seeing momentum build” in the Store, driven by promotions and the run-up to Christmas.

Brix urged developers to finish their Windows Phone titles or update those they already offer to take advantage of the Christmas uptick in demand and slew of recently-launched Windows Phone devices.

Microsoft introduced gift cards to encourage users to discover and purchase apps on their new devices, with the company forecasting that more than $100 million worth will be available in user accounts across 41 markets.

Microsoft is establishing more direct billing relationships with operators to boost uptake in markets where credit card penetration is low. According to Brix, there are now 51 operator connections in 31 markets for direct billing, “substantially more than any other smartphone platform”.

The company has seen a six-fold increase in transaction volume in developing markets where direct billing has been introduced.

Brix also promised “creative new approaches” in the new year to help developer reach users.

He also recommended developers focus on a number of areas to boost downloads and revenue.

These include selecting the global distribution option in the Dev Center when submitting apps to boost geographic reach, and publishing to markets where direct billing is available, as this has been shown to boost downloads.

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Marketplaces vs. Online Sellers: A Story of Broken Promises

Marketplace

E-commerce marketplaces are to online sellers what shopping complexes are to retailers.

Marketplaces have not only leveled the ecommerce playing field for SMBs but also provided so much more visibility to these niche brands that are taking the online shopping industry by storm.

So naturally, when an online marketplace, let’s call them ScamTag.com for namesake, approached Saumya Gupta to host her brand, Ten On Ten’s apparel on their marketplace, she was more than stoked. With an online presence, spanning from her own online store to selling on bigger marketplaces like Flipkart, Myntra and ShopClues, this was more than a welcome move.

Saumya Gupta, like so many entrepreneurs today, is the one-woman show behind her very own successful apparel brand, Ten On Ten Clothing. From scooting the bazaars of Mumbai for raw materials to taking customer calls at 2 in the night, she is CEO to customer service executive all rolled into one.

The first couple of months of tying up with ScamTag did brilliantly for Ten On Ten. Saumya was seeing a flurry of orders coming in from ScamTag and was happy about the exposure and the subsequent customer interest Ten On Ten was gathering.

Without complaints, she diligently processed the orders she received, undertook a quality check at her end to keep up with the belief that only the best reach the customer and never came across an unhappy customer. All was hunky dory! Until, the day, she asked the team at ScamTag to pay her for the orders she had processed and the stock they still had at their warehouses, which summed up to a total of Rs. 1.8 lacs! Only to be denied what she had rightfully earned as an entrepreneur, even after having signed anMoU with ScamTag.

So what the hell happened?

ScamTag refused to settle all payments for Ten On Ten citing reasons like repetitive customer complaints, return of goods by the customers and products not meeting their quality checks. All of which, Saumya, was not even once informed about.

Once ScamTag refused payment to Saumya, she had no option but to take a legal recourse. And even then ScamTag.com did not straighten their act. From the company complaining to having never received the signed MoU, to managers acting as CEOs, to even going to the lengths of stalking Saumya on WhatsApp (!), they must have tried every trick in the trade to get to her to withdraw her demand for getting paid!

Finally after haggling between their respective lawyers and much threat, over a period of 3 months, the company returned 1.1 lac in cash out of the 1.8 lacs they owed her. And returned goods worth Rs. 70,000! How is an entrepreneur supposed to react to such a scenario, other than completely giving up faith in online marketplaces?

Should you be wary of all online marketplaces?

To understand the same, a little backdrop into how marketplaces operate is needed. You see, traditional online marketplaces are nothing but a collection of online shops, much like a shopping complex. Each brand maintains its own shop and controls its own inventory. And the best part about it being, other than the low commission of around 10%-12% per sale, is that the store owner knows exactly who the customer is! They can directly interact with the customer, address concerns and redress returns accordingly.

However, in the case of marketplaces like ScamTag, they are a “shopping website that hosts flash sales”. To give you a fairer idea, such marketplaces work on the basis of purchase-order. A customer buys a product on their website and the marketplace raises a purchase order for the same. Once the brand owner, in this case Saumya, receives the purchase order, the order is processed, quality checked and sent back to ScamTag which subsequently sends it to the customer. The downside to such a model being that the store owner is never in touch with the end customer and has to rely completely on the marketplace to act as a mediator, which operates on anything around 30% to 60% commission per sale.

As a word of advice to fellow entrepreneurs, Saumya strongly suggests, reading between the lines before signing MoUs of any kind and better still, always having a lawyer look at the documents you are about to sign. And always choosing wisely about whom to do business with.

Even though ScamTag was a relatively new venture, Saumya saw an opportunity and went for it. But only to be disappointed. Today, she has sworn-off marketplaces that work on the purchase-order or flash sales model completely, standing firmly in favor of inventory-based marketplaces or rather selling via her own online store.

This post is not a discouragement for anyone wanting to sell on online marketplaces. On the contrary, we advise online sellers to sell at online marketplaces too, in order to get that more visibility for their brand and grow their sales. But as a final word of advice, when choosing a marketplace to sell on, make sure you choose wisely and do a thorough background check on the company you’re about to tie-up with. Also, do read all agreements very carefully and better still have a lawyer look into the same.

Have you endured something like that? What is your take on the entire episode? Do drop in and join in the conversation in the comments below! Let this be a word of advice for all fellow entrepreneurs and e-tailers.

Guest post by : Nitin Purswani , CEO of Zepo

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India's Cell Phone Market is driven by India made phones

smartphone-micromax

India’s cell phone market has seen a tremendous growth in the last few years. With cheap Chinese handsets (Smart phones) entering the Indian market has eaten up the market share from Samsung,NOKIA. Some of the best cell phones in India have been launched by the rising star Indian brands like Micromax, Karbonn, LAVA & Intex. The Indian consumers are now getting more inclined towards buying the cheap Indian cell phone brands as compared to the global brands like Samsung, Apple , Blackberry, Nokia.

Some of the latest handsets introduced in the Indian market today by top Indian cell phone manufacturer Micromax is the Canvas series and Titanium series by Karbonn. Samsung had launched their top of the line S4 series and Apple’s Iphone 5S recently competes with the Indian brands. This year Micromax and Karbonn are planning to introduce a number of low cost smart phones, which will definitely take the market in a big way.

From a promotion and branding perspective the Indian brands are giving their international counterparts a run for their money by bringing in some top celebrities to drive the brands. Micromax recently signed up Hollywood super star Hugh Jackman as their brand ambassador. With this Indian brands are projecting themselves as a global brand and not cheap phone brands.

Micromax and Karbonn are planning to start manufacturing their devices in India in the recent future. Indian consumers aren’t aware of a drawback to purchasing Indian phones. The Indian phones unfortunately works only in India and the Indian sub-continent, if a user is roaming  internationally in locations such as US ,Europe or Middle East, these phones won’t work. Indian handset OEM’s should try and solve this issue soon, as then eventually their handsets can be sold overseas. With time we will see a lot of focus on building the devices within India and not import the parts from China, which increases the duty of the imported parts and is passed on to the consumers.

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Foodpanda has revolutionized the Food ordering business around the world

Foodpanda

FoodpandaDid you ever think one day you will be able to order your favourite food through a website fast and hassle free ? Yes, that has happened. Foodpanda.in the world’s largest online food ordering platform does that.It was initiated by the leading startup incubator Rocket Internet. Foodpanda was launched in 2012 and is headquartered in Berlin. The company is fully operational in 30 countries across Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Europe, currently employs more than 500 people worldwide, and continues to grow at an impressive speed.

India experience has been simply amazing for Foodpanda. The concept is great. Foodpanda makes ordering food online easy, fast and fun so that you don’t have to take the pain of cooking and cleaning up.

The process of ordering food is very simple with just a few clicks you can order from a wide variety of delicious cuisines online. The best part is , the site gives you variety of cuisine and restaurant options to choose from under one roof. Hot food is conveniently delivered to your home or office after you have place the order.

Very interesting to see how a site like  Foodpanda has created such a fantastic business model, just by aggregating restaurants and food ordering service, making life easier for foodies.

How does the Website work ?

Ordering food from Foodpands is just four quick fast steps.

Step 1: Enter your city and location in the home page and hit the find food button. You get a whole list of restaurants with option to sort cuisines by relevance, rating, minimum order value or Delivery fee options. Pick the restaurant you like and order. The food can be ordered  from 11AM to 11PM only, it’s because all the restaurants generally takes orders during this time.

Step 2 :  Once you have identified the restaurant , you can now order the food you like. Browse the menu and select the items you will like to order and add to cart. Interesting part I noticed is if you try to order food before 11AM or after 11PM , the site simply refuses to take order, it says “Food Panda “ is closed.

Step 3 : Now that you have selected the menu items, hit the “Order Now” button, add your delivery address and you can decide to pay online or pay cash on delivery. The payment process is simple and standard, you can pay by Credit card, Debit card or Internet banking.

Step 4 : Now that you have placed the ordered, you should now receive an SMS confirmation. So that’s it! Just wait for the ordered to be delivered.

Once you have received the order, you can now decide to rate the restaurant and write a review in the restaurants page , so that others can know how the experience was. I liked this review system as it lets one know the overall service , quality of food and overall experience.

Do try ordering and share your experience by putting it on the comments system

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