Despite a per capita income that is considered to be very low, Google has been encouraged by the strong response to the Pixel 2 handsets at pop-up stores that the company put up in the country. At least two well known malls in the country have said that they have received requests for space where Google's stores will be set up.
Since its establishment, Google has always been keen on protecting its image and that may serve as an explanation as to why the company at times declines to make comments on rumors and speculations. One executive at a mall claims that the pop-ups have imparted on Google how retail is "important because you can't explain numerous features online".
Google's offline retail stores allow users to experience Pixel phones and purchase instantly. If Google does decide to go ahead with the plan, the "experience centres" could be used to sell more than just the Pixel smartphones.
The tentative timeline for the physical Google stores is in the latter part of 2018. "They got a flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online. India is the world's second biggest wireless market with 1.2 billion mobile subscribers".
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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.
It is not clear whether Google is planning to the same in other countries or not, but in the US, Google already has two pop-up stores in New York City and Los Angeles.
It's unclear whether Google will open its own stores or outsource the operations to a third party.
Google will use the stores to sell other products as well, said one of the persons cited above. We can expect these new stores to open up in the second half of next year. Apple, however, has been lobbying hard in India for single-brand retail licence to be able to open its own stores. Apple is also planning exclusive stores in India. It partnered with BK Modi promoted Spice Group to launch AndroidLand outlets that sold Android smartphones from leading OEMs such as Samsung, HTC, Lenovo, Sony, Xolo, Micromax, Karbonn, and of course, Spice.
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