We will be launching five more experience centers in India: Vikas Agarwal
We will be launching five more experience centers in India: Vikas Agarwal

Post Bangalore, OnePlus is planning to launch five more exclusive experience centers in major metros in the country. It is also planning to have 10 authorized stores and 16 exclusive service centers in other leading cities. In the experience centers, people experience the device, meet the team, learn more about the brand and can also buy. The encouraging consumer response at Bangalore experience center has compelled the brand to venture into other cities to offer same consumer experience. Thus, briefing about the brand's future offline expansion plans, Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India spoke to Indianretailer.com on the sideline of the launch of OnePlus 6 model in Mumbai.

What is the idea behind launching more experience centers in India?
After launching our first experience center in Bangalore last year we are now opening five more experience centers in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad respectively. We will also be launching 10 authorized stores and 16 exclusive service centers in other leading cities. These state of the art larger format service centers will be spread across prime locations while servicing consumers within an hour. We will also gradually expand our exclusive experience centers in other leading metros too.

All the exclusive stores will be bigger than the standard smart mobile stores. The smallest will be 2000-3000 sqft, whereas the largest could be 5000-6000 sqft. The exclusive stores as well as the service centers will be managed by the company but will be owned and operated by the local partners. In each city, we have new partners.

What kind of consumer experience will you be offering at these centers?
Our offline venture is aimed at providing the same OnePlus experience we have been offering in our Bangalore experience store. In the store people can experience the device, meet the team, learn more about our brand and can also buy. For these stores, we are not opting for the distribution channel, but our own offline channel. 

Will you be offering omnichannel experience to the consumers?
No, consumer cannot buy online and pick from offline stores at the moment. In the long run we may offer omnichannel experience across all the cities, but as of now we are trying to offer it in tier I cities. It will be a close-ended omnichannel experience where the consumer can only buy from our online partner Amazon.com or our own e-commerce portal. They can also buy from our exclusive stores and our shop-in-shop stores.

Post Bangalore which key factors have enticed you to venture into other cities? 
Last year we opened our first experience center in Bangalore and the response has been phenomenal with the kind of turnout we have experienced. Generally, the offline stores do not get a lot of walk-ins, typically two or three customers buy in a week, and that is the standard in the market. A good successful store, probably, sells five hundred units a month, but we sell 10 times of it.

After opening the store in Bangalore our sale on Amazon has grown faster than our growth in Mumbai. The sale is accelerating online because the customer is experiencing the product at offline store, building trust with the brand and then shopping online - this is a unique behavior of the customers.

Will your focus be on tier I cities?
We are already strong in tier I cities and we will continue to focus on it as our major focus area. In these cities we already have critical mass and still there is huge opportunity to grow. We do not spend a lot on marketing so our resources are concentrated in areas where we are doing well. And once tier II and III markets will start growing organically with good traction.

We will do future expansion in phased manner. We do not want to go in every market in one shot. At a time we would open stores in two cities, take learning from it and then get into other cities.

What significance the post-sale services hold with OnePlus?
Today, for service, consumer goes to multi-brand service centers, probably, located in the remote corner of the city. There the consumer has to wait for longer time because of multiple brands servicing offered there. He may have to face ill-trained service staff and unavailability of spare parts in stock. So, we want to give comfortable soothing service experience to the consumer so that every time they interact with OnePlus, they do it with a peaceful mind.           

What is your expected ROI from these stores?
In terms of ROI it’s zero investment. The stores are invested by the local partners and for us it is just additional channel of sales. As a company we follow asset light model. We just have a team of 60 members in India. We do not own any store or inventory ourselves, but we produce and supply to our local partners.


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