Offline Retail is a major industry in India yet it is mostly unorganized. Services are acceptable in most metro cities but brands are still looking for ways to tap the huge market potential of the small towns and cities of India. With a population of fewer than 50,000 people, big brands are looking for innovative strategies to penetrate these cities and boost sales during the upcoming festive season. Xiaomi has come up with one.
Don’t be surprised if you see a vehicle with Xiaomi’s logo making rounds in your street. In a bid to penetrate the brand’s presence and boost it’s faltering image, Mi India has launched Mi store on wheels. The company hopes this move will help bring Xiaomi’s exclusive retail experience to every nook and corner of India. The store started from Chhattisgarh and traveled from Basna, Sankara, Bhawarpur, and Pithora.
Since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the offline retail strategies of brands as customers are restricted to stay indoors. Xiaomi’s new retail strategy aims to penetrate the tier-3 and tier-4 cities of India. Although anti-China sentiments in the country continue to grow, the company’s pilot run will include newly launched products from the biggest seller of Chinese smartphones.
A Food-Truck Like Concept
Throwing light on the project, Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi’s Global Vice President and Managing Director of its India operations, made the announcement through a tweet.
"Mi"les to go before we sleep!
I ❤️ Mi pic.twitter.com/7OECCNnlgb
— Manu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) September 21, 2020
Following the concept of a food truck, Mi’s Store on Wheels will have a pop-up store set in the back of the truck. The store will sell all-new smartphones under Redmi Note 9 series along with 32 inches and 43 inches Mi Smart TV among smart-TV accessories like Mi Box 4K, TV Stick, Bluetooth Earphones, and CCTV cameras.
The Store on Wheel made its Pilot with a set inventory list and took feedback from the customers to alleviate the experience. Customers can request for specific products to be featured on the store directly with Mi’s Store on Wheels representatives.
Combating Supply Chain Disruption By Bringing The Store To You
Xiaomi has maintained an omnichannel presence in the country since its inception in India. The innovative offline and online retail strategy followed by the Chinese company made Xiaomi India the biggest smartphone brand in India earlier this year. With a market share of 31% in Q2 of FY20, Xiaomi still dominates the smartphone market in India even after all the speculations of tie-ups with the Chinese government and whatnot.
Xiaomi’s radical new approach to boost sales comes at a time when India’s smartphone sales plunged 50 per cent year on year in the June quarter. Customers were restricted to their homes and both offline and online sales took a major hit due to consequent lockdowns.
“With this new initiative and having the largest exclusive single-brand retail network, we are determined to reach the remotest of areas in the country and address the needs of customers, bringing the Mi Store experience to their neighborhood,” Mi India COO Muralikrishnan B said in a statement.
India is the second-most populous country in the world and the pop-up store brings an opportunity for the brand to penetrate the remotest parts of the country. People living in rural areas will now be able to try Xiaomi products without traveling to a bigger town or city.
Trying To Curb “China Angle”
There has been a severe call to boycott the sale and production of China-owned products after a deadly standoff between the Indian Army and the Chinese troops earlier this May. The Indian Ministry of Information and Technology released a list of 52 Chinese applications to be banned immediately owing to fear of privacy violation and data breach. A few of Xiaomi’s apps also came on the government’s radar but the company hasn’t heard from the ministry for a ban on its products in India.
Xiaomi clarified issues regarding breach of data and violation of policy by MIUI- Xiaomi’s android based user interface. The Chinese brand will launch a new version of its MIUI focused for its Indian users. The new MIUI won’t feature any applications on the ban list of the Indian government.
“Since 2018, 100% of data from Indian users is stored on servers located in India and none of this data is shared with anyone outside India,” read a statement from the company. Xiaomi also threatened legal action against anyone who spreads misinformation regarding the brands linking with India’s eastern neighbours.
The market indicates that customers in India see Xiaomi as a value-for-money brand. Even with all the calls for boycott and supply chain disruption due to the lockdown, Xiaomi came out at the top of the market. Customers are still attracted to the brand for its cheap pricing strategy and innovative offerings.
Xiaomi has almost 3000 Mi-powered stores in the country and Store on Wheels will only boost its operation. Xiaomi had revealed earlier that smartphone sales in India have recovered to about 72 percent of their pre-pandemic levels. Xiaomi is the second largest smartphone vendor in India and currently the fourth-largest in the world.