New Delhi, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Apple will launch its first online store in India on Sep. 23, the iPhone maker said on Friday, coinciding with the festive season during which retail sales are expected to pick up after an unprecedented decline in demand due to a coronavirus-induced lockdown.
“We know how important it is for our customers to stay in touch with those they love and the world around them. We can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India with the Apple Store online on Sep. 23,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote on Twitter.
The virtual store will offer Apple’s full range of products and support directly to customers across the country for the first time, the company said in a statement.
“The new online store will provide customers with the same premium experience found in Apple store locations around the world, delivered by online team members who are ready to offer their expertise.”
The statement said that the store would be “the most convenient destination to shop for Apple products, with online Apple specialists available to help with anything from custom-configuring any Mac to setting up new devices.”
Customers can get advice, receive guidance, and learn about new products directly from Apple, both in English and Hindi, it said.
The statement said that since Indians were heading to a festive season, the store will offer signature gift wrap and personalized engraving for select products.
Engraving of emoji or text in English and seven Indian languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu – will be available for AirPods. English engraving will also be available for iPad and Apple pencil.
Until now, the company sold its products in India through authorized third-party sellers in brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.
Purchases on e-commerce pages have witnessed a huge spike due to Covid-19 in India, the second worst-affected country with more than 5.2 million infections and almost 85,000 deaths.
The retail trade in India has suffered massive business losses due to the coronavirus restrictions.
According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the losses until June ending amounted to nearly 16 trillion Indian rupees (nearly $220 billion).
The trade body had warned that the domestic trade in India was is passing through its “worst period” in the current century and about 20 percent of retail shops in the country would be forced to “down their shutters.”
On the health and safety front, the US tech giant said for the well-being of its teams, customers, and communities, all orders from the Apple store online would ship with contactless delivery.
It added that orders that require no signature would be left at the customer’s door.
“Those that do will need only a verbal confirmation from a safe distance instead of a written signature.”
Apple has been operating in India for more than 20 years, and the company’s ongoing investment and innovation, according to the statement, support almost 900,000 jobs across the country.
Apple’s design and development accelerator in the south Indian city of Bengaluru, also called Silicon Valley of India, has supported thousands of local developers. EFE-EPA