Google is reportedly thinking about opening physical retail stores in India to boost sales of its Pixel smartphones. The newspaper agency, citing internal sources, revealed that the company is now in talks with multiple malls to set up stores across the country.
Google's offline retail stores allow users to experience Pixel phones and purchase instantly. Post the launch of the Pixel 2 / 2 XL in India, we had already seen a lot of pop-up stores at various malls which let people experience these phones first-hand. The launch did not get the excitement that Google had anticipated however, but hopefully, this time around, we should expect Google's second coming to be a more popular affair. Apart from that, Google's Pixel smartphones are priced on the higher side as opposed to the large offering by Chinese vendors which are quite affordable.
This retail expansion comes as more than a dozen pop-up stores opened in recent months throughout the country proved successful. India's technological growth is among the fastest in the world, and Google's presence is lacking in comparison to competitors like Apple, Vivo and Xiaomi.
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Google might also set up shop in the country to sell their other devices, such as the Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices, View virtual reality (VR) headsets, and their Pixel laptops. The stores, called AndroidLand sold Android flavored handsets from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, Xolo, Micromax, Spice and Karbonn. One executive at a mall claims that the pop-ups have imparted on Google how retail is "important because you can't explain numerous features online".
Offline stores are important for Indian market where flagship phones cost much. They had some outlets in the country in collaboration with Spice Connect, but they shut them soon very quickly. The likes of Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi have their stores run by other franchises in India.
Rival Apple too is planning to setup single-branded store in India since mid-2106, but could do so, as it was facing issues with regard to government's clause for retailers to locally source at least 30% of the raw goods sold in such shops.
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