Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), in a bid to provide a major lift to its Pixel smartphones, has plans underway to unveil brick-and-mortar stores in India. The report notes representatives from a couple of malls have confirmed they have received requests from the company to setup outlets.
The first-gen Pixel flew under the radar in India thanks to an underwhelming marketing campaign by Google, and the company vowed to fix things with its successor. The offline presence may launch sometime in late 2018, the report said. Google is said to have been encouraged to go the offline route following positive feedback from its pop-up stores, where it set up a dark room to showcase the Pixel's low-light shooting capabilities.
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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. Google has already hired a senior Apple executive to roll out the plan.
Google will likely sell some of its other products at these stores as well, like Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast devices, Pixel notebooks, and Daydream virtual reality 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.
What is not known at the moment though is whether these upcoming Google Stores will be single-brand retail or run by other franchises. The stores, called AndroidLand sold Android flavored handsets from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, Xolo, Micromax, Spice and Karbonn. We can expect these new stores to open up in the second half of next year.
Apple is seeking a single-brand licence to open own stores in India and has sought concessions including duty exemption on manufacturing and servicing, components, capital equipment and consumables for 15 years.