Google eyeing brick and mortar stores in India to push Pixel

Dec 27, 2017, 01:00
Google eyeing brick and mortar stores in India to push Pixel

The launch of brick and mortar stores in India could follow a dozen popup stores Google opened in recent weeks that include a dark room where the second-generation Pixel's lowlight camera capability is shown. The third person said Google had hired a senior Apple executive as part of its plan. It had actually opened similar exclusive affiliated store: AndroidLand in collaboration with Spice Mobility way back in 2013, which also used to sell Nexus 5, a first in Nexus series phone to be made available via physical store in the country.

Google responded to a Reuters query saying that it does not comment on rumours or speculations.

Soon after the launch of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL in India, Google set up pop-up stores in the malls across the country to demo these smartphones to the people so that they can have a hands-on experience of the phone which would help them make their purchase decision. The stores could offer Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast devices, Pixel laptops, Daydream View VR headsets, and more. However, while Google is pushing its software pretty well into the Indian market, it's finding it a bit hard to sell its hardware - the Pixel smartphones - in the country.

India is the world's second biggest wireless market with 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, which is now dominated by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and Chinese players including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. With a plan of 50 such stores and having major brands selling their handsets including the Nexus line, only two stores were set up in Select Citywalk in Delhi and The Great India Place Mall in Noida, both of which shut down due to poor sales. The goal of these stores was to educate and showcase its new Pixel 2 range to potential customers. "They got a flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online".

ET's anonymous source has confirmed that Google is considering opening "experience centers" in India and that it could likely happen in the "latter part of 2018".

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.