Xiaomi’s decision to become an offline retailer could seriously hurt the competition

Xiaomi announced that it wants to push 50% of its sales to offline channels i.e. brick and mortar stores or physical retail outlets. While this has been talked about for quite some time now, it seems like Xiaomi is finally set to take the big step in a few months. This is a big move by the company in a market where e-commerce sales are everything. Companies take the online route to save marketing costs and other charges that arise while displaying their products in a store.

But it seems like Xiaomi is well aware of the fact that online sales alone won’t cut it in a market like India. Several citizens are still not tech savvy and do not trust online retailers, and with good reason. So having a physical retail outlet for such users makes complete sense. While this might drive up the costs of marketing for Xiaomi, it could prove to be a clever move in a couple of years from now.

Change of fortunes for Xiaomi?

Given that Xiaomi is not having the best time in the market, a move like this could have been borne out of desperation. Regardless of its current status in the market, there is no doubt that Xiaomi’s devices will surely reach a lot more customers this way. Opening up retail presence in rural areas of the country will surely help with the outreach and exposure as well.

What about the rivals?

This could be a particularly tricky time for Xiaomi’s industry rivals like Huawei, Oppo, Gionee, Vivo and the rest. Not to mention the Indian OEMs like Micromax, Lava, Intex etc. However, most Indian manufacturers have some retail presence in the country, so it seems like Xiaomi is merely trying to get ahead of its Chinese contemporaries. Almost every Chinese OEM sells its products exclusively via e-commerce channels in the country, thus giving Xiaomi the advantage. However, it might not be too long before they catch up.

Naturally, Xiaomi’s timing here is going to be very crucial. So one can only hope that the company doesn’t take too much time in bringing this idea to fruition. The company doesn’t have a lot of products to showcase, but the few devices that it does sell are incredibly popular in the country.