Apple has taken plenty of industry leaders with its very aggressive approach in India. A steep fall in the sales numbers of likes of Samsung Galaxy S IV were attributed to Apple tapping into the Indian market in ways nobody really expected them to. And if the report by Economic Times is to be believed, they are set to change the game and their strategy once again for the South Eastern country.
We have seen several Apple Stores in the US which are nothing short of state of an art facility. This adds a whole new experience of buying products as you find yourself submerged in the world of Apple accompanied by a staff that are not only technically smart, but also equally enthusiastic about the brand wearing their love and trust for Apple on their sleeve. This sort of experience has been missing in India where Apple operates on a more franchisee model such as iStores by Reliance. The staff usually is badly trained and barely enough enthusiasm drips from their voice for you to seriously pick yourself for spending what Apple needs you to for their products.
Not to the level of Apple stores, but Apple is considering open small stores in Tier I and Tier II cities of India. The shops will be setup by the distributors of Apple in India which include Redington and Ingram alongside other trade partners. It promises to provide as close to the real Apple Store Experience as possible in India.
There is a Catch
However, there is an interesting catch here. These stores are not really focused on selling out the latest iPhones or iPads or even Macs. These stores are being planned with focus on targeting a general market and not the niche Apple Market. Devices such as iPhone 4, iPad 2 or even the Classic iPods would be where the action would happen in these stores. Although, yes, there would be the top of the line gadgets too, but the whole aim is to make more and more people versed with low end Apple products who otherwise would have picked a competing device simply because they could not afford the highest Apple products.
Economic Times quotes somebody who is closely related with one of the Trade Partners of Apple: “Apple wants to focus more on its entry-level models in these stores such as iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad mini and iPad 2, which are essentially in the sub- 30,000 segment and also its largest-selling products in India. The company feels these products are also attractively priced over competitors such as Samsung and Sony, and hence, being closer to the consumer will help to increase the conversion rate.”
We have seen players like Samsung and Nokia in the part really benefit from having these standalone cafes where you could try their products out and although Apple is late to the party, you just feel this might be a game changer for higher adoption rates for Apple products in India. Since things are very much at planning level, no dates have been put on when would the first such store go up, but you just feel that this is exactly the stuff Apple should be doing to increase the paltry 2% by Volume share of smartphones in India.