Tim Cook launches Apple’s first retail store in India: Six services that make it officially different

Enthusiasts thronged BKC on Tuesday as Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the store in Mumbai; a second store will open in Saket, Delhi, on April 20

A longtime customer showed up with the old Machintosh Classic at the store launch at BKC on Tuesday, April 18. (PTI Photo)
A longtime customer showed up with the old Machintosh Classic at the store launch at BKC on Tuesday, April 18. (PTI Photo)

Aditya Anand

In a significant development for Apple users in India, the company opened its new store in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) on April 18. The Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio World Drive Mall store is the first to be inaugurated by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is currently visiting India. A second store will open in Saket, Delhi, on April 20. 

Tuesday morning saw over 300 people lined up outside the store, some having arrived overnight, to take photographs with CEO Tim Cook, who stressed the importance of the Indian market. The Indian web store started in September 2020 after Apple struggled to open stores there. Apple could not open a store earlier because India's foreign direct investment (FDI) restrictions required single-brand foreign merchants with over 51 per cent FDI to source 30 per cent of their products locally.  

In August 2019, the restrictions were changed to count exports and contract manufacturing towards the 30 per cent local sourcing over five years, allowing Apple to operate stores in the country. Apple has made used local resellers in India before this.  

The iconic black-and-yellow cabs unique to Mumbai inspired the store's design. Apple claims that the BKC store is its most sustainable store yet, featuring a dedicated solar array and operating on 100 per cent renewable energy. With zero reliance on fossil fuels, the store is operationally Apple’s most sustainable store ever set up.  

According to CRE Matrix, the lease agreement prohibits over 22 brands Amazon, Facebook, Google, LG, Microsoft, Sony, Twitter, Bose, Dell, Devialet, Foxconn, Garmin, Hitachi, HP, HTC, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, Nest, Panasonic, and Toshiba from opening display ad outlets nearby. Apple will pay Rs. 40 lakh per month for the Delhi store's 8,417.83 sqft, but Rs. 42 lakh for Mumbai's 20,000 sqft. 

Experts view the BKC store as a significant milestone for Apple in India, where the company has rapidly expanded its retail presence. The new store is expected to offer a wide range of Apple products and services, including the latest iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches, accessories, and customer support services.  

Customers visiting the new Apple stores can use six special services to make these official company-run stores stand out from the regular Apple retailers.  

Genius Bar: Apple stores offer technical support at their Genius Bars. Customers can get device repairs, troubleshooting, and technical support at the Genius Bar. The Genius Bar staff is skilled and can help with software, hardware, setup, and configuration difficulties. Genius Bar provides fast, reliable service to keep Apple products running smoothly. 

Trade-in: Apple offers a trade-in program that enables customers to exchange their old Apple devices for credit towards purchasing a new one. To participate, customers can visit an Apple store and bring in their old machine, which a specialist will evaluate to determine its condition and trade-in value. This program provides customers with a convenient and environmentally friendly way to upgrade their devices while receiving credit for their new purchases. 

Free workshops: Apple stores offer free workshops and classes to assist customers in mastering Apple devices. These sessions are for all ability levels and cover many themes. Customers can learn new ways to use Apple devices by attending these workshops and classes. These free seminars provide something for beginners and advanced users. 

Setup Assist allows customers to schedule an appointment with an Apple specialist who will assist them in setting up their devices, transferring their data, and customising their settings to their preferences. Slots for this service can be booked online or in-store, providing customers with a convenient and hassle-free experience. 

Touch and feel: Apple stores let people try things before buying. Customers may touch, feel, and engage with iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more to learn their features and design. Apple stores allow shoppers to try their products before buying. 

Better recommendations: The store has retail staff with intensive product training. They can help customers choose the right product by answering questions about product features and capabilities and making personalised recommendations based on customer needs.  

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