Market trackers said this will create differentiation in the overall buying experience by showcasing a smartphone maker’s product-line and result in increasing the brand’s mind share among consumers. They added that such experience centres can also help build trust among consumers.
Vivo is the latest smartphone brand to open a flagship experience centre in Gurgaon in Haryana, where it will combine product experience, sales and after-sales servicing. The centre will also offer live-demos of premium products and have a dedicated zone for accessories and IoT products.
The Chinese smartphone maker will launch over 650 such exclusive stores across the country by the end of the year.
“Experience centres may sell products, but they are generally focussed on showcasing the entire product line-up, demonstrate the capability and let consumers experience the products,” Navkendar Singh, associate vice president, device research at IDC India, told ET.
Xiaomi and Samsung already have a strong footprint of offline experience centres across the country’s urban hubs. A 2021 report from Channelplay, a retail and channel solution provider, said both companies have the largest retail network across the country. Realme too opened its first flagship experience store, a 13,000 sq feet facility, in Ahmedabad in June.
“The brands are focusing on differentiation not just on devices but on overall buying experience,” said Prachir Singh, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.
Smartphone brands are also bolstering after-sales service availability, in a bid to build consumer trust as the market moves up the price ladder to more premium handsets.
Oppo recently announced that it has revamped its after-sales service by offering customers to witness product demonstrations and face-to-face repair and service for smartphones. It believes this will ensure the authenticity and security of all parts and assure safety of personal data.
Oppo will also start doorstep servicing from October. The Chinese smartphone brand will begin doorstep pickup and repair services across 13,000 pin codes in India, returning the serviced product within three to working days. It has also started offering EMI options on repairs and servicing of its products.
Lava too has expanded its after-sales service to include doorstep pickup across 9,000 pin codes across the country for its upcoming smartphones. The service requests will be attended within two hours of a complaint being filed and resolved within 48 hours, the company has said.