- Xiaomi has announced a new platform called Mi Commerce
- Mi Commerce aims to bring buyers and retail store closer digitally
- The platform could be a boon for both buyers and offline stores
Xiaomi is arguably the biggest smartphone maker in the country and it appears the company is in no mood to let the COVID-19 pandemic take that tag away from it. The phone maker has now come up with an innovative platform that could help it maintain high sales volumes of phones and other gadgets even in these coronavirus ridden times.
What is Mi Commerce?
Launched in India as a solution to bridge the divide between brick and mortar stores and online channels of delivery, the Mi Commerce platform promises to help offline stores easily get in touch with buyers even as they stay safe inside their homes.
While not being pegged as a replacement for e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon, Mi Commerce is being pushed as a "product discovery platform" which will showcase products in stock at Xiaomi exclusive stores. The platform will also allow buyers to connect with Xiaomi stores around them and place orders online for smartphones, gadgets and smart TVs.
Upon placing orders, the platform will facilitate "contactless" delivery to the buyer. With safety in mind, the payment for these orders will be made using UPI-based solutions with the delivery of orders being handled by the retailers themselves.
The platform will facilitate direct contact between the Xiaomi store owners and the buyers, who will also be able to get help regarding warranties and aftersale using the platform. With this framework, Xiaomi's Mi Commerce appears very much in line with Vivo's Smart Retail model that aims at connecting Vivo's vast network of offline retailers with buyers across the country.
Why Mi Commerce is a good idea
As the Managing Director for Xiaomi India, Manu Kumar Jain, explained to the media via a virtual press conference, the platform should help a lot of customers who might have concerns about stepping out of their homes and into a physical store during these times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform will help buyers adhere to social distancing guidelines without having to give up on buying their favourite Xaiomi gadgets in the months to come.
Apart from the buyers, the Mi Commerce platform is also expected to help Xiaomi's 10,000 retail partners -- especially the exclusive retail partners such as Mi Home, Mi Stores, and Mi Studios -- who have had to shut shop over the past few weeks.
While not ideal, such a platform could be just the thing the offline segment of the smartphone market needs to sail through these troubling times when lockdowns and significantly reduced customer footfall may become the new normal for stores across the country.