Xiaomi Mi Home Store, the company’s first exclusive offline retail store, has opened in Bengaluru. Xiaomi will be showcasing its products, which include the Redmi and Mi range of smartphones, the Mi Air Purifier 2, along with other accessories at the store. The company plans to set up 100 such Mi Homes within the next two years in India.
Xiaomi’s Managing Director for India, Manu Kumar Jain, said the next set of Mi Homes will open Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. While the first Mi Home Store includes only products which are sold in India, the company will have ‘Experience Zones’ in the upcoming stores.
This means it will also showcase products that aren’t being sold in India, though the company has not specified which products will be displayed. In China, Xiaomi has a range of ecosystem products like television sets, rice cookers, water purifiers, even electric bicycles, to name a few. The company hopes it can gauge customer response in India by showcasing these products here.
“When we started five years back in China, we disrupted the mobile internet business. We started selling online. A lot of people asked us why online? We wanted to sell directly to consumers with Mi.com. We wanted to bypass inefficiencies in offline retail like multiple layers, huge manpower cost, information asymmetry, etc,” said Jain. He pointed out that in China, Mi.com is the third largest e-commerce company, behind Alibaba and JD.com.
In India, Mi.com claims to have seen 100 million visits in April 2017, with over one million daily active users. Xiaomi claims it saw over 500,000 people visit the Mi.com website during their Mi Fan Festival sale in India.
But the company will now shift focus to offline, though it plans to do this differently compared to other players in the market.
“In traditional offline, consumers often end up paying 2X for the price of a phone, thanks to the complicated distribution network. In our model, we are looking at going directly to the retailer, and reducing the number of partners between us and the consumer,” pointed out Jain.
While Xiaomi has been focusing on offline in India in the last couple of months, and ramped up its presence in offline stores, with the new Mi Home concept it plans to reach more consumers directly.
“Mi.com and Mi Home are two parts of the same unit. If someone comes to Mi.com, and he/she can’t find the product, we will redirect them to Mi Home via the website. If in the Mi Home store a product is out of stock, we will issue a F-code to let people buy the phone from Mi.com,” explained Jain.
The company views Mi Home as the offline avatar for their Mi.com business. Currently it has over 72 Mi Home stores in China. The first Mi Home Store in India will be located in Phoenix MarketCity, Bengaluru and Xiaomi will open this for the public on May 20 at 9AM.
Xiaomi is also letting interested consumers pre-book phones online for a token of Rs 1000, and they can then pick these phones from the Mi Home store. The pre-booking period will start from 5PM on May 16 and goes on till May 19.
The Chinese technology company is also promising to tackle one of its biggest issues with the Mi Home Store. The problem of ‘Out of Stock’. The company promises that if a phone is out of stock in the store, then an F-Code will be given to customers to let them purchase the phone on priority on the Mi.com website.
“When we started India, we were selling 10,000 phones a month. Now the number is at one million a month, and when the stock goes out in a few minutes, people complain about this. But in Mi Home, we are promising a no out of stock situation,” added Jain.
Xiaomi says the experience zones in other cities will be bigger in size.
Disclaimer: The correspondent is in Bengaluru at the invite of Xiaomi India.