Apple Inc has picked Mumbai's Maker Maxity mall, co-owned by Reliance Industries, for its first store in India. The store is reportedly going to be a 20,000-25,000 sq ft space spread over three floors at the mall in BKC. The outlet is likely to open its doors in September next year.
According to a report in The Economic Times, a team from Apple US is overseeing the designing and layout of the outlet. As per the report, one floor will be the experience centre, while one will be dedicated to retailing and another will serve as a service centre.
The flagship store will be three times the size of Apple's largest franchise outlet in India. The largest flagship store, Flagship Apple Premium Reseller store in Mumbai's High Street Phoenix mall runs across 8,000 sq ft over two floors and showcases the tech giant's entire range available in India.
How is the Apple store different from the flagship stores?
The tech giant is not only focussed on selling products through its offline stores but also looks to offer captivating open spaces and a unique experience to customers. They have features such as uniquely designed seating areas, large screens for marketing, developers and community events and fun stuff like indoor trees. The company also has 'Apple Watch Studio' experience in their stores where people can choose and pair any case with any band to create the watch they want. The Apple stores also offer augmented reality experiences.
Apple is also exploring places of historical significance for its stores globally, for instance the Carnegie Library in Washington DC or its store in a Haussmann-era apartment building Paris.
"The plan for opening owned stores will certainly help Apple in giving a controlled experience of its devices and services as it intends and designed them to be. In a third-party retail environment, many such things cannot be controlled by the brand. This will only add to the strong premium positioning Apple enjoys in the country," Navkendar Singh, Research Director at IDC India had told news agency IANS earlier.
Why has it taken so long to open an Apple store in India?
Apple was unable to open its own retail stores in India as it did not meet local sourcing requirements. India earlier had a rule that companies applying for more than 51 per cent FDI through single-brand retailing had to locally source 30 per cent of the products they sell in the country.
In August, India amended the rule to include exports and contract manufacturing in the mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing norm over a period of five years. "We love our customers in India and we're eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy. We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India's first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we'll have more to announce at a future date," the company had stated.