The advancement of cellphone technology worldwide has brought with it an inherent need for consumers to seek only the newest versions of gadgets offered by cellphone manufacturers. This need is often coupled with a hefty price tag as most recent versions of popular brands such as Samsung and Apple will usually require customers to part ways with tens of thousands of their hard-earned money. It is for this reason that R&R Importers, the country’s leading supplier of Android cellphones such as Cubot and Doogee brands, has established a market for furnishing local consumers with high quality cellphones, at a fraction of the price.
Speaking to Prime Focus Magazine this month, R&R Importers’ founder, Ronnie Adams, explains that the inspiration to venture into the previously untapped market of supplying cell phones that do not have the same reputable brand names as their peers, despite comparable specifications at times, was purely to provide local consumers with cheaper alternatives.
“We wanted to show people that it is possible for them to buy good quality phones without having to spend something like N$11 000,” he says.
“R&R Importers started four years ago and at the time it was just my wife and I. We were only joined by a third person after the first six months. This was all during the time that smartphones and tablets were becoming popular here so I first brought in tablets from China and they were very good and the price was competitive so I moved on to cellphones and other gadgets,” Adams relates to Prime Focus Magazine the formation of R&R importers.
While initially harbouring ambitions of selling cellphones from renowned brands like Samsung and Apple, market forces and profit margins did not make it a worthwhile venture and this effectively forced Adams to deal exclusively in the high quality Android devices emanating from China; an endeavour that now sees him as one of the biggest suppliers of android devices to the Namibian market, supplying these products to retailers all over the country.
Adams explains that the growth of the enterprise over the last four years has been such that it has allowed him to employ about 10 employees, with two branches located in Windhoek, while also providing products to agents all over the country to sell on their behalf.
“We supported one enterprise in Ongwediva (JR Importers) with start-up capital so they can also start an enterprise that side so they are also shaping up now,” Adams adds.
Despite the palpable growth over the four-year period, Adams explains that it has not all been smooth sailing as brand loyalty has proved to be a significant impediment to their operations, with the majority of consumers preferring to stick with the reputable brand of products rather than opting for the equally proficient Android devices they sell.
With after-sales service being a key component to any sales-related enterprise, Adams has since established direct links to the factories in China who supply parts for all the devices sold by R&R Importers.
“It usually takes us seven working days to get parts into the country and this is a reasonable time so we do not really encounter problems with importation of goods. The main delay is usually only with the clearance from Customs [and Excise] but this has not been a big issue.”
While Adams would like to see an increase in sales of the next five years to complement the growth that R&R Importers have already attained over the last four years, he tells Prime Focus Magazine that this will take time and that when more people start using their phones and start sharing their positive experiences with the peers then it will allow Namibians to get high-quality mobile phones without spending thousands of dollars to get them.
“What we are trying to do is show people that these are really good phones and that even though the names are not Samsung or Apple, they can do most things that those phones can and we understand that this is something that will take time,” Adams concludes while adding, “if you compare the phones we sell, like the recent Cubot Cheetah which costs N$4200, to the famous brands, you’ll find that they have the same specifications and sometimes better but to get the phones with the famous name and the lower specifications, you will need to have something like N$12 000 or N$13 000. Even if there are differences in specifications, these are not enough to justify the difference in price.”