Google reportedly planning retail stores in India as part of Pixel push

Google reportedly planning retail stores in India as part of Pixel push

IT

India is now the world's second largest wireless market with 1.2 billion mobile subscribers and Google will want to tap into that market share. The Economic Times reports that Google is now planning on opening "experience centers" in the country where people can try Google's flagship phone, the Pixel 2. The offline presence may launch sometime in late 2018, the report said.

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

Google has started backing up artificial intelligence or "AI" start-ups in India as part of the search giant's plan to move into an "artificial intelligence first" world.

These pop-up stores helped Google to understand that physical stores are important to explain things clearly that is not possible via online videos and advertisements.

While Google hasn't confirmed the reports, setting up retail in India could help the company compete with Apple and Samsung, as well as Chinese-made phones from XIaomi, Vivo and Oppo, notes TheEconomic Times. Opening Google's stores will not just boot the Pixel smartphones sales, it is being expected that they will sell Chromebook Pixel, Google Home, Google Home Mini, Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra, and Daydream View as well. Google doesn't quite enjoy the same brand cachet as Samsung or Xiaomi, and launching retail stores could be useful in increasing awareness of the brand's hardware products. Many large format retail stores have dedicated store-within-stores for the Pixel as well.

Google will use the stores to sell other products as well, said one of the persons cited above.

At this point, it's unclear if Google will be applying for a single-brand license or go the franchisee route. One source is saying that Google's physical stores may open their doors as soon as the second half of next year.

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. The company had partnered with Spice Group to introduce AndroidLand outlets to the country.

  • Terrell Bush