Reports indicate that Google is planning on launching brick-and-mortar outlets in India, one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, with a view to boosting the sales of Google Pixel phones. According to sources Google could launch the physical stores as early as late next year and the online search giant had already poached a senior executive from Apple to spearhead the effort.
Part of the reason why Google is planning on opening the stores is the fact that there has been an encouraging response from over a dozen pop-up outlets which were opened in recent weeks in various malls all over India. This includes New Delhi’s Mall of India, Promenade, Select Citywalk, and Mumbai’s High Street Phoenix.
Pixel 2 smartphone
The pop-up stores were unveiled with a view to showcasing Google’s latest Pixel smartphone, the Pixel 2, and educate potential buyers on the device’s features. Two well-known malls in the world’s second most populous country have acknowledged that they had received space requests for Google stores.
“They got a flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can’t explain many of the features online,” an official at a leading mall where Google set up a pop-up outlet for over a month said.
Sources also said that besides Pixel 2 phones, the online search giant will also sell other products at the stores it plans to open in India. Some of the products it could sell include its smart home devices such as Google Home speakers, Daydream View VR headsets, Pixel laptops and Chromecast streaming devices.
At the moment Google is behind Samsung and Apple with regards to the sales of smartphones in India. Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and other Chinese brands are also posing strong competition.
If Google goes ahead to open brick-and-mortar outlets, it will not be the first time that the Mountain View, California-based tech giant will be doing so. Four years ago Google and Spice Group entered into a partnership to open outlets that would sell Android devices from various manufacturers including Karbonn, Micromax, Xolo, Lenovo, HTC, Sony and Samsung.
Initially the plan was to open 50 outlets in one and a half years but only two stores were eventually opened in Noida and New Delhi. The two stores were eventually closed as a result of poor sales. No information is however available on whether Google will seek a single-brand license or will pursue the franchising model like Samsung and Apple.