Google eyeing brick and mortar stores in India to push Pixel

Google to setup its own experience stores in India

As offline stores seem to be a big deal now for the Indian smartphone market as it overtook the USA as the second-largest smartphone market in the world, every brand, including Google, may fall short without any offline presence.

The report further highlights that at least two prominent malls in India said that they have received requests for space to set up Google stores.

While, Google hasn't officially commented on this matter, the report cites sources claiming that these stores could come up sometime in the latter part of 2018.

After the launch of Pixel 2, Google tested the pop-up stores in Mumbai and Delhi NCR.

Google has not been particularly concerned about the sales performance of its latest Pixel devices in India and the company has been lax in its promotion strategy.

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"They got a flavor of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online", one of the malls' executives told ET. 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.

Google will also use the stores to sell other products such as Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast, Pixel laptops and Daydream View VR headsets. They launched with 1,000 offline stores, but it looks like Google will have to do a lot more to ensure steady sales of its flagship smartphones in the face of intense competition. The company is also said to have hired a senior Apple executive to be part of its expansion plans. Around 4 years earlier, Google had tied up with the Spice Group owned by B.K. Modi to sell Android devices and the stores called AndroidLand to sell multiple brand products were opened.

For those of you who didn't know, Google had, in fact, tried its luck at opening retail stores in India back in 2013. Unlike Apple, which has filed for a single-brand retailing license in India, Google could decide to open its stores and have them operated by franchisees like Samsung and Xiaomi have done with its stores inside India.

It's still unclear whether Google will own and operate the stores itself, or whether it'll go the franchise route instead.


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