As offline stores seem to be a big deal now for the Indian smartphone market as it overtook the United States as the second-largest smartphone market in the world, every brand, including Google, may fall short without any offline presence.
According to a new report, Google is planning to open physical stores in India, a move that's aimed at boosting the sales of Pixel phones in the Asian country. Google has also requested two renowned malls in India for setting up the stores. This is not the first time that Google is opening their outlets in India. "The company is considering it and could start opening the stores in 2018" said one of them. Apparently, Google has been happy with the interest people in the region have shown in several pop-up stores in malls like High Street Phoenix in Mumbai and Select Citywalk, Promenade, Mall of India in Delhi-NCR.
Google's offline retail stores allow users to experience Pixel phones and purchase instantly.
"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.
It is not clear whether Google is planning to the same in other countries or not, but in the US, Google already has two pop-up stores in New York City and Los Angeles.
This retail expansion comes as more than a dozen pop-up stores opened in recent months throughout the country proved successful. One of Google's key rivals, Apple too is interested in opening single-brand license stores in India. Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices, Pixel laptops and Daydream View virtual reality headsets are all products it can stock and sell through these stores, going ahead. The company does not have strong offline channels to market its products and it has been overshadowed by the likes of Apple and Samsung. Apple, however, has been lobbying hard in India for single-brand retail licence to be able to open its own stores. Google opened some physical stores in India back in 2013 through a partnership with Spice Group. Samsung's stores in India, for example, are owned and run by franchisees.
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