Why Apple Stores in India are a big deal
India’s first Apple Store opened today in Mumbai, a flagship retail outlet at the Jio World Centre in BKC. The tech giant will follow this up with another store in Delhi’s Saket, on April 20. Two Apple Stores in two days in unprecedented in more ways than one and underlines how important India has become as a market for India.
Why is an Apple Store significant?
Apple could not open a store in India earlier because of regulatory restrictions around single brand retail. So far it had stores operated by Indian partners like Imagine and Future World. With the launch of its first two stores, Apple will become a full stack player in India, managing everything from manufacturing to retail.
On Monday, it claimed it was also “supporting over 1 million jobs in India” with its developer network. At the new company-owned stores, Indian customers will be able to walk in to buy India-made iPhones, underlining the company’s 25-year journey in India.
How are Apple Stores different?
At Apple Stores, the actual sale of products takes the backseat and the focus is on the experience. Like a town square, people can walk in and spend as much time as they want with the products and even ask questions and learn how to use an iPhone on MacBook.
Each stores have many Apple Geniuses who handhold customers and give any technical advice they would need. They are there to help make the purchase decision too. And this is another aspect that makes the stores different: there are no point of sales or billing counters with queues. The Geniuses just record the sale wherever the customers are. There are also regular Today At Apple sessions with experts that try to inspire customers to use different aspects of Apple products. The entire bouquet of Apple products and accessories will be on sale at these stores.
When did the first Apple store open?
The first Apple Store was opened at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in California in 2001. The more came in for a lot of push back, and Apple Founder Steve Jobs was criticised for his attempt to get into retail. He countered: “Rather than just hear about megahertz and megabytes, customers can now learn and experience the things they can actually do with a computer, like make movies, burn custom music CDs, and publish their digital photos on a personal website.”
Two decades on, Apple has over 500 physical stores around the world, showcasing the unique value of the brand to customers old and new. Over the years some of these stories have become iconic locations in a city like the store at Carrousel du Louvre in Paris or the one inside Grand Central Terminal in New York.