To match the e-commerce giants, Apple will be offering easy payment options through credit and debit cards, credit card EMIs, RuPay, UPI, net banking and credit card on delivery.
Exchange options for iPhones, tailor-made solutions for new Macs like additional memory (RAM), storage (SSD) or graphics card and free contact-less delivery are being worked out. Further, the new iPads, Apple watches and the Apple One subscription service, unveiled on Tuesday, will be rolled out in India soon after the store launch.
While a range of physical stores is in the pipeline, it is the online store, given India’s size, that will be the most crucial channel. “Apple is already banking on the market for future growth and this online store will be very important for Apple’s growth in India over the next decade. Now, it can not only offer its full range, but controlling the supply and gauging demand will become easier”, said Navkendar Singh, research director, IDC.
Further, options such as the customization of products through engraving in the seven most-spoken regional languages, namely Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu, will further bump up the localisation factor. In fact, the store is being developed based on design themes depicted in Indian scriptures.
Samanta now wishes he had waited a few more months. “Since I heard about the announcement, I’ve been excited about trying out the custom configuration options on a MacBook. But I might end up buying one for my daughter and at least she will be able to benefit from the service,” he said.
The timing of the launch might have been too late for Samanta but otherwise it could not have been better, said experts. With the Covid-19 pandemic further pushing consumers towards online purchases, the share of e-commerce channels in smartphones has grown to over 45 per cent.
For notebooks, its share ranges between 15-25 per cent, up from a single digit two years ago.
Sources familiar with the development said the online store will be the foundation for Apple’s physical store launch in India, scheduled for 2021. The company is working on two sites in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
But, given the flagship nature of the Apple Stores, their numbers will be limited. Inevitably, it’s the online channel that will be the backbone.