After the Note 7 fiasco, smartphone major Samsung plans to revamp its flagship models to attract customers looking to buy premium handsets this festive season. It is also working on a communication strategy, addressing the concerns about safety, it is learnt.
According to sources, it is considering new editions of its latest flagship devices such as the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and S6 Edge. And, is to launch special offers for customers who'd pre-booked and paid for the Note 7 in this country.
The consumer connect initiative will emphasise that it too steps to secure safety of its customers and had withdrawn its flagship model even before launch in India.
Samsung has been holding on to the number one position in mobile devices in this country for some quarters. However, at a time when close rival Apple has launched a new iPhone, absence of a new Samsung flagship device to counter it has set off alarm bells.
According to Mark Johnson, an associate professor at Warwick Business School who researches product recalls, the company should have been more active on the Note 7. "It was only when the second batch of phones began to fail that they acknowledged more serious issues at play. Samsung tried to rush the Note 7 to market to beat the iPhone 7. Phones are complex things and the launch of new products is fraught with difficulties and delays. Samsung potentially rushed a number of critical stages, probably testing, to get to market quickly," he said. Adding that the recall indicated Samsung was not as agile as some of its competitors.
Doubt about quality and safety of a brand that has recalled products is a factor among consumers. "I have used Samsung smartphones and home appliances like refrigerator and air conditioner for years. However, after this incident, I will prefer to stay away from its products," said a buyer at a Croma store in Delhi.
"In the near term, their sales will be hurt. How it impacts the brand's image in the long run depends on Samsung's strategy. The firm needs to come up with an explanation as soon as possible and reach out to customers, assuring them the Note 7 episode was a standalone one," said Tarun Pathak, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research.
Experts say taking all stakeholders such as authorities, distributors, retailers and customers into confidence is important to minimise any long-term impact on the brand. Since the incident happened during the festive season, considered crucial for consumer electronics companies in this country, with 35-45 per cent of annual sales, this preparedness to counter competition is important.