As the festive hullabaloo reaches crescendo at a marriage ceremony in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, there is a faint buzz near the marriage pandal. The priest is constantly over the phone, taking instructions from Ramekbal Tripathi
the master priest, who, with the help of his disciples, is overseeing twelve such marriages in a day. Ask Tripathi about his prolific output and he grins: "I don't have any magic wand but a magic mobile."
Whether it's Betiyah in Bihar or Jaunpur in U.P., small cities and rural towns are ringing in with such success stories scripted over a phone bought from Mobile Magic, a retail chain selling mobiles, accessories.
However, the first call was made way back in 2004, when three entrepreneurs, Vijay Singh, Ravi Kedia, and Vivek Palod, started the first Mobile Magic store in Nagpur. Vivek, director and one of the co-founders of the company reminisces: "As it happens in most of the cases, we met with lot of skepticism. Bottom of Pyramid concept was still a matter of slideshow discussed among well-heeled business executives in a 5-star hotel. But, all three of us had grown up in small towns and knew its customer psyche & consumer buying behaviour first-hand. Hence, our focus was always smaller cities."
After four years, when other mobile retail stores are folding up their businesses from big cities, Mobile Magic is reaping gold from dustbowls in remote corners of Bihar and U.P. From 3 stores in the first year, the company has expanded into a chain of 100 magic stores today, dotted across 60 cities and towns across the country. 7 of them are company-owned and others are franchisees. "There is a big opportunity in these markets. Besides, it makes a lot of commercial sense. The lease rentals in metros & bigger towns don't justify the competitive business that we are in. We wanted our own level playing field & ecosystem to grow with our franchisees," says Vivek.
However, it's not just the hardware, but value add-ons too, which have propelled company business on a fast paced trajectory. "In all our mobile outlets you can get your handset repaired. It's quite in demand as lower income group do not change their handsets regularly. In small towns, where electricity is still a once in a blue moon phenomenon, features such as downloads of popular movie clips, wallpapers of bollywood stars, and games are popular and quite sought after," adds Vivek.
The company has strong strategic tie-ups for mobile content and distribution with Hungama and Killermobile. "Our clients get exclusive movies clip of 15-20mts duration, more than 2000 mobile games, wallpapers, utilities, video songs, and applications," says Vivek outlining company's foray into Rs. 4850crore strong mobile content market.
The company also has its own established brand for mobile accessories called MOGO. To meet the demands of trained manpower, the company recently started Mobile Magic Institute of Technology to equip students with the latest skills in mobile technology.
As Ramekbal Tripathi counts his Guru Dakshina from twelve marriages, the company, has drawn an ambitious plan of earning Rs1000 crore in revenues from 1000 stores in next five years.