Apple’s first online store in India to arrive soon

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Apple Online Store India Image
Apple is opening its online store in India next week.

Apple, the US based iPhone maker, has confirmed that its first online retail channel in India would go live on September 23.

This means that customers in India will be able to shop directly from Apple online, just as customers around the world have been for decades. The platform will also offer assistance to customers in Hindi and English.

This is the first time the company will open a retail channel for the first party in the country. To date, Apple has sold its goods through e-commerce and offline partners in India.

In addition to the full range of Apple offerings, the online store will also include, for the first time, its local contact center – which offers support and services to Indian customers. A dedicated education store for India has also been announced by the company, which will offer special rates on Mac computers, iPad tablets, their accessories and Apple’s premium support service, called AppleCare Plus.

The store will only have items from Apple at the moment, but accessories from third parties may be added in the future. The company is also implementing payment options like UPI and Cash on Delivery (COD), among others.

Deirdre O’Brien Image
Deirdre O’Brien
Senior VP – Apple

“One thing we’ve learned is when we enter the market with Apple Retail, all boats rise. It creates tremendous interest in our products, which are available on our online store and through our network of trusted resellers, allowing us to connect with our customers where they are. As of today Apple Store Online is selling a wide range of Apple products.”

Apple in India

One of the major obstacles stopping the Apple Store Online from launching in India earlier was a government requirement forcing international firms to source 30 percent of their production locally. Eventually, the criteria were relaxed, allowing Apple to push forward.

During an earnings call earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook had announced the launch, but the pandemic had delayed Apple’s plans by a few months. With the launch next week, the business will be ready for the country’s festive sales season.

Apple’s market share in the Indian smartphone market remains at about 2 percent, according to industry estimates, but over the past few quarters, the company has been making progress in India. International Data Corporation (IDC) data shows that Apple acquired 48.8 percent market share in India’s premium segment in the quarter that ended in June 2020, up from 41.2 percent a year earlier.

Experts attribute this progress to good sales of the iPhone SE 2020 version and supply chain challenges faced by rivals such as OnePlus.

They claim that while, due to its premium pricing, Apple still relies a lot on offline sales, the company still needs to do better online. It is pointed out that most of Apple’s online sales concentrate mostly on Flipkart and Amazon, who get “a lot bigger volumes” from lower price segments, led by Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo.

Advantages

The retail store will help Apple resolve many challenges, such as ensuring the availability of its full range of products and accessories that may not be able or willing to be carried by a partner. It also allows the organization to maintain greater control over the customer experience.

To that end, the web store will allow customers to pick custom configurations for Mac computers, a service that Apple has so far been unable to offer entirely in India because its sales depended on third party partners.


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