Google is preparing to open brick-and-mortar stores in India to shore up sales of its Pixel smartphones. The plan is to open experience centres in India where consumers can actually have a look and feel of the products.
The company was encouraged to open these centres by the response to more than a dozen pop-up stores in recent weeks that it opened in malls across India.
Physical stores are important because not every feature of the product can be explained online.
Google will also use the stores to sell other hardware such as Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices, Pixel laptops and Daydream View virtual reality headsets.
This is Google’s latest strategy to boost smartphone sales in India, where it’s not just trailing Apple and Samsung, but also Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Vivoand Oppo.
Earlier in 2013, Google had in partnership with BK Modipromoted Spice Group rolled out AndroidLand outlets to sell Android smartphones from different brands.
Samsung branded stores and Xiaomi’s Mi Home physical outlets are owned and operated by franchises in India.
Apple is, however seeking a single-brand licence to open own stores in India and has sought concessions including duty exemption on manufacturing and servicing, components, capital equipment and consumables for 15 years.
It is unclear whether Google will apply for a single-brand retailing licence in India or take the franchise route like Apple and Samsung. But hopefully, this new strategy of Google will boost the sales of Pixel 2 smartphones.