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Google eyeing brick and mortar stores in India to push Pixel

Google eyeing brick and mortar stores in India to push Pixel

The company now wants to change this by committing to a full-scale brick and mortar business in the country by opening various Google stores. 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. 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. In October, India overtook the USA as the world's second largest smartphone market behind China. "The company is considering it and could start opening the stores in 2018" said one of them.

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. Sources familiar with the matter suggest a final decision is likely to be taken soon and the first Google stores in India could be launched in the second half of next year. TheEconomic Times also reports that two other "prominent" malls in india have seen requests to open Google retail space.

According to sources, Google will be focussing on improving the number of experience centres across India, as the response from these activities has been encouraging. 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.

What is not known at the moment though is whether these upcoming Google Stores will be single-brand retail or run by other franchises.

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.

Offline stores are important for Indian market where flagship phones cost much.

"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 Dilip Modi, chief executive of Spice Connect, according to ET.

At this point, it's unclear if Google will be applying for a single-brand license or go the franchisee route.

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