Google may set up retail stores in India to spur Pixel sales

The search giant hired a key Apple executive to help with the expansion, and plans to open "experience stores" where users can try out the new features.

Google has reportedly contacted at least "two prominent malls" in India to request space for a more permanent location.

According to The Economic Times, these traditional stores are now being evaluated, with the locations possibly being branded as "experience centres". It is said that the company was pleased with the response received to its pop up centers opened recently in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR regions to showcase the newly launched Pixel 2 smartphones. 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 flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online", said a top executive at a mall where the company had a pop-up store for more than a month. More malls are perhaps receiving enquiries for setting up of stores by Google. He said the company had created a "dark room" to show that the Pixel 2 can take good pictures at night or low light.

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Google's retail push is also aimed at highlighting its nascent hardware ecosystem, including the Daydream View headset, the Chromecast, and even the Google Home, which could launch in India sometime next year. We can expect these new stores to open up in the second half of next year. India's technological growth is among the fastest in the world, and Google's presence is lacking in comparison to competitors like Apple, Vivo and Xiaomi. Unlike a Samsung or an Apple, Google Pixel handsets are not easily available across the country in physical stores. They had some outlets in the country in collaboration with Spice Connect, but they shut them soon very quickly.

Offline market is one place where Google has been lagging behind.

It's still unclear whether Google will own and operate the stores itself, or whether it'll go the franchise route instead. Samsung branded stores are owned and operated by franchisees in India, Xiaomi's Mi Home physical outlets are owned by franchisees.

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