In a bid to boost sales in a market hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Xiaomi is launching a new e-commerce service called 'Mi Commerce'.
The platform has been introduced in India to give people a way to buy their favorite Xiaomi products from the nearest authorized store in their city.
Here's all about Mi Commerce and its working.
COVID-19 has affected leading smartphone giants, including Xiaomi
The spread of COVID-19 in India has hit the 'non-essential' smartphone industry significantly.
Factories and stores have been closed and online sales through platforms like Amazon and Flipkart have dipped, leaving a direct impact on the business of Xiaomi, which touts India as its biggest market outside of China, as well as its rivals Samsung and OPPO.
Mi Commerce could be the solution
Now, to work around this roadblock, Xiaomi has introduced Mi Commerce, a hyperlocal offline-to-online (O2O) solution to connect its retail partners across India with customers willing to buy Xiaomi devices.
Basically, the service lets you find a Xiaomi store in your locality and place an order for any gadget you may want to buy - be it a phone or smart-band - from there.
Order is fulfilled by the store itself
Once you use the service and choose a product, the order will go to the nearest Xiaomi retail store in your neighborhood.
From there, the partner will handle the sourcing, packaging, and last-mile delivery of the product.
Xiaomi India MD Manu Jain said that the move will enable the company's 10,000 retail partners to restart their business quickly across several Indian cities.
Pilot running in Kerala, set to be expanded
Mi Commerce is currently being tested in Kerala as part of a pilot but will soon be rolled out across all green and orange zones across India, where the delivery of non-essentials has been allowed.
The company will also provide its retail partners with working capital loans so that they can handle the packaging and last-mile delivery of the products.
Xiaomi was already working on Mi Commerce
"We are (ensuring) business continuity in the offline trade, especially given the context that people will obviously be apprehensive about visiting offline stores because of concerns of safety, hygiene, virus spreading," Muralikrishnan B, Xiaomi India's COO, said about the company's new service.
He said that Xiaomi was already planning this product, but the lockdown enforced in March fast-tracked its development.