Apple wants company-owned retail stores
The company has welcomed the new Single Brand Retail Trade (SBRT) norms that allow it to open the first company-owned retail store in India. It is also planning to set up an online store, providing easier access to its products for consumers.
In a statement released on Thursday, Apple noted,
“We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway, and we’ll have more to announce at a future date.”
It also said that it loves its Indian customers and wants to serve them in-store and online. This will help bring the same experience that Apple customers enjoy around the world.
The online store will come first
According to new rules set by the Indian government on Wednesday, companies can now start selling their products to Indian customers via their own online stores, regardless of a physical presence (a brick-and-mortar store) in the country. This is why Apple will also choose to create an online store first. According to two senior company executives, the Apple webstore will be available over the course of the next three to five months. They will replicate the global online store template to bring a more streamlined experience to Indian users.
Online is a big opportunity for Apple since 35-40% of its iPhone sales are driven by the eCommerce industry. For iPad and MacBooks, the number is 25%. Apple’s products are sold via Amazon, Flipkart and even Paytm Mall.
A brick-and-mortar store could come up in Mumbai within the next 12 to 18 months. The iconic company-owned store could finally come to India thanks to the new regulation that allows contract manufacturing and exports to be counted in the 30% local sourcing norm for 5 years.
The company has already started iPhone assembly in India using contract manufacturing and will continue expanding this strategy. One of the company’s executives said that the company has also started exporting iPhones from India and with time, it will include more markets and models to its India export lineup.