Xiaomi India has introduced a ‘Mi Smart Upgrade’ program aimed at offline consumers, who might look to upgrade their Redmi or Mi smartphone to a future device from the brand by allowing them to lock in an assured buyback value at the time of purchase. Xiaomi is promising customers a maximum of 70 percent assured buyback value when they trade in their Redmi or Mi device for a new phone under the scheme. Mi Smart Upgrade option will be offered in all Mi Home, Mi Studios and Mi preferred partner stores.
“The smartphone life cycle has started shrinking thanks to the rapidly evolving technology. New generations of phones are launching in six to nine months time. For the customer, this puts them in a new quandary. They buy a phone today, but in six months time that phone has quickly become the previous generation,” Muralikrishnan B, Chief Operating Officer at Mi India tells indianexpress.com over a call. He points out that when the customer wants to exchange the device in six to nine months, they find the value has depreciated significantly.
“This was a constant feedback we received and that’s why we decided to introduce the Mi Smart Upgrade to solve this problem,” he said.
The program will be applicable to devices starting Redmi 9 Prime and extends to all phones in the Redmi and Mi universe. It will be available in all authorised retail Xiaomi outlets, which includes Mi Home stores, Mi Studio, Mi Preferred partner stores. In total, this is a 12,000 strong offline network where Xiaomi will be offering this scheme.
According to Muralikrishnan, Xiaomi will give customers an assured value of up to 40 percent applicable on the selling retail price (SRP) for a maximum of 15 months under the program. For example, if one were to purchase a Redmi Note 9 Pro in the market today, and opts for the Mi Smart Upgrade program, they could exchange it in the future for a different Redmi or Mi device, and get an assured exchange value of 40 percent on their older device.
“The big reason for launching it at this point of time is because the next 10 or days will be the biggest festive shopping season that we expect to see in the year. Yes, we’ve had a challenging year, but we see millions of customers coming for this festive season. With the Mi Smart Upgrade program, they’ll have another great reason to buy a Mi or Redmi phone in the festive season,” Muralikrishnan said.
Plus Xiaomi will be hoping that its customers remain in the Mi and Redmi ecosystem if it can offer them an assured buyback value on their phones, given the exchange value of phones depreciates rather quickly. Add to that there is growing competition from brands like Realme, Samsung which are also launching phones with similar specifications at quick intervals and keeping Xiaomi on its toes.
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“We want to keep people on the upgrade path within the Mi and Redmi range, and hence, because you’re locking in a specific buyback value, a lot of people will move to upgrade to the next phone, regardless of whether it’s a Mi phone or a Redmi,” he said.
Mi Smart Upgrade plan: Costs, what will it offer
The Mi Smart upgrade will start at Rs 399 for the Redmi 9 Prime, Rs 499 for the Redmi Note 9, Rs 549 for Redmi Note 9 Pro, Rs 599 for Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and going up to Rs 1,999 on premium smartphones like Mi 10. It will also be applicable on the Redmi K series. This is the additional cost that the customer will have to pay in order to get the assured buyback value later on.
Xiaomi says customers will get upto 70 percent of assured value within 4-6 months, 60 percent for 7-9 months, 50 percent on 10-12 months and 40 percent on 13-15 months from the date of purchase and final billing. This plan will be available at Mi authorised retail outlets and a user will have the option of activating it at the time of buying the program.
The Mi Smart Upgrade is limited to the offline stores. It won’t be applicable on Mi.com. Xiaomi also has an existing partnership with Cashify where users can exchange their old phone for a Redmi device, which will continue.
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