The online store for India may come in direct competition with Flipkart, Amazon and other online authorised third-party resellers
(Subscribe to our Today’s Cache newsletter for a quick snapshot of top 5 tech stories. Click here to subscribe for free.)After months of speculation, Apple has officially confirmed that an online leg of the Apple Store will be launched in India on September 23. This upcoming store will offer the tech giant’s full range of products — iPhones, iPads, Macs, accessories — and support directly to customers across the country for the first time. Prior to this, customers who wished to buy an Apple product online were directed to a page of authorised third-party reseller stores in their area.The new online store promises to provide customers with the same experience found in Apple Store international locations, delivered by online team members who are ready to offer their expertise. This is called Personal Setup, in that once a customer purchases a product, they receive an invitation to a free 30-minute one-on-one online sesion with an Apple Specialist (bookable between 9 am and 9 pm, 7 days a week); this session can include setting up a new device, custom configurations and exploring features. With financing options and an available trade-in program, the Apple Store online offers a range of affordability options and payment methods, including credit card with equated monthly installments (EMIs), debit card, RuPay, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), net-banking, credit card and/or cash on delivery (CoD) — though cash on delivery will not be immediately launched due to the ongoing physical distancing.Shop talkApple has been operating in India for more than 20 years, and ongoing investments and innovation support almost 9,00,000 jobs across the country.The company operates 37 online stores in 37 countries. Students can shop for a Mac or iPad with special pricing, and receive discounts on accessories and AppleCare+. Plus, in October, customers can expect free online Today at Apple sessions, focused on photography and music, led by Creative Pros from across the country. A fun add-on we have been seeing in international markets and which we can soon enjoy: one can look forward to Apple’s signature gift wrap and personalised engraving for select products something authorised third-party resellers do not offer. Engravings of emoji or text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu will be available for AirPods, while English engraving will be available for iPad and Apple Pencil.However, the Apple online store in India will not include third-party accessories such as those from Belkin and Daily Objects which we see frequently in the authorised third-party reseller stores, though the company is not opposed to including these products down the line. Meanwhile, e-commerce sites such as Flipkart and Amazon which already sell genuine Apple products may face some competition due the aforementioned exclusive services offered by Apple. The logistics So how does delivery work? Apple has partnered with courier company Blue Dart to be the on-ground fulfillment partner, and customers can expect deliveries in 24 to 72 hours from date of purchase. To maintain physical distancing during the pandemic, all orders from the Apple Store online will ship with contactless delivery, and orders that do not require a signature will be left at the customer’s door, and those that do will need only a verbal confirmation from a safe distance instead of a written signature. Anyone unhappy with their product can issue a request for an exchange within 14 days of purchase but the company will not have a direct return-for-refund policy at launch of the online store.“We’re proud to be expanding in India and want to do all we can to support our customers and their communities,” says Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People, in a company statement. “We know our users are relying on technology to stay connected, engage in learning, and tap into their creativity, and by bringing the Apple Store online to India, we are offering our customers the very best of Apple at this important time.”
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