tata steelstive season: phone companies expand offline play to better connect with shoppers


New Delhi: Smartphone brands are expanding their offline game by launching exclusive experience centers, in-home services and even state-of-the-art service centers ahead of feTV Narendran, Tata Steelstive’s general manager of the season.

Market trackers said it would create differentiation in the overall shopping experience by highlighting a smartphone maker’s product lineup and lead to an increase in brand mind-share among consumers. They added that such experience centers can also help build consumer confidence.

Vivo is the latest smartphone brand to open a flagship experience center in Gurgaon, Haryana, where it will combine product experience, sales and after-sales service. The center will also offer live demonstrations of high-end products and will have a dedicated area for accessories and IoT products.

The Chinese smartphone maker will launch more than 650 such exclusive stores across the country by the end of the year. “Experience Centers can sell products, but they typically focus on showcasing the entire product line, demonstrating capability and allowing consumers to experience the products,” Vice Vice President Navkendar Singh told ET. -Associate President, Device Research at IDC India.

Xiaomi and Samsung already have a strong footprint of offline experience centers in urban centers across the country. A 2021 report from Channelplay, a provider of retail and channel solutions, said the two companies have the largest retail network across the country. Realme also opened its first flagship experience store, a 13,000 square foot facility, in Ahmedabad in June. “Brands are focusing on differentiation not just on devices, but on the overall shopping experience,” said Prachir Singh, principal analyst at Counterpoint Research.

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Smartphone brands are also boosting after-sales service availability, in a bid to bolster consumer confidence as the market moves up the price ladder towards higher-end handsets. Oppo recently announced that it has revamped its after-sales service offering customers to attend product demonstrations and face-to-face repair and service for smartphones. Oppo will also start home service from October.

It also began offering EMI options on repairs and maintenance of its products.

Lava has also expanded its after-sales service to include door-to-door pickup on 9,000 PINs across the country.

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