India to receive its first Google offline store in 2018

Kelley Robertson
December 28, 2017

As offline stores seem to be a big deal now for the Indian smartphone market as it overtook the U.S. 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 wants to change things soon by opening brick-and-mortar stores in India. Google has also requested two renowned malls in India for setting up the stores.

Google has been financially backing up small companies in India, and also providing them proper mentorship from top technology companies in Silicon Valley. The most recent smartphone model from the company is Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 Plus.

The company's brick-and-mortar stores in India are likely to open in mid-to-late 2018, so it won't be long before Google makes an official announcement. The third person said Google had hired a senior Apple executive as part of its plan. Apart from that, Google's Pixel smartphones are priced on the higher side as opposed to the large offering by Chinese vendors which are quite affordable.

"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 opened some physical stores in India back in 2013 through a partnership with Spice Group. 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 has tried opening retail stores in the past as well, but it did go well. Dubbed as Androidland, the stores offered Android-based handsets from Samsung, HTC, Sony, Xolo, Lenovo, Micromax and more.

Google will use the stores to sell other products as well, said one of the persons cited above. "We had done two stores as part of the pilot and then we could not proceed with the project as they did not meet with our desired objectives", said Chief Executive of Spice Connect, Dilip Modi. The likes of Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi have their stores run by other franchises in India.

What is not clear, however, is the exact route the company will take to set these stores up.

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