Who said that you can only buy candy bars and soft drinks at vending machines? Chinese tech major Xiaomi, today launched the Mi Express Kiosk initiative across India where you can buy a host of Xiaomi products from a vending machine.
The company already has Mi Homes, Mi Studios and Mi Experience Stores to cater their large scale offline retail network in India, but after buyers complained about limited stocks of phones in these stores, Xiaomi came with a unique solution to address this problem.
These kiosks will allow you to buy a new Mi Phone as well as accessories from a location near you. For now, the first kiosk has been inaugurated at Manyata Tech Park in Bengaluru.
“Mi Express Kiosks serve as a highly effective New Retail initiative for consumers and Mi Fans to easily access and buy Xiaomi products instantly in offline markets,” said Xiaomi in a statement on Monday.
How does this work?
This idea stems from a brilliant marketing strategy that is aiming to eliminate operational and cost inefficiencies for consumers by reaching out to the consumers directly.
The kiosks are loaded with a camera on the top which to be precise is a Mijia Smart Camera to capture the faces of those who are making the purchases. Along with this, there is a touch display on the right to operate the machine.
One can browse through the catalog of products available, check out the specs for each item, select the colour option and finally make the purchase.
You can make the payment through credit cards, debit cards, cash, and UPI through a separate slot. The kiosk will also have a slot to print the billing receipts.
Unfortunately, the prices of each device available at a Mi Express Kiosk will be the same as that in Mi Homes and the official website.
Photos shared on Twitter by Xiaomi ahead of the launch today showed the kiosk loaded with earphones, selfie sticks, power banks, chargers, Bluetooth speakers and phones from Xiaomi and Redmi.
Will this strategy work in India?
The concept of Mi vending machines has been around in China since last year and has been a successful one, to say the least. But India might be a different ball game altogether.
Potential locations for these kiosks include larger daily footfall such as tech parks, metro stations, airports, and shopping malls which would really serve the company well.
If not a phone, I feel people can surely buy all the accessories offered from these kiosks which are cheap, pose a small risk to the buyer and come in handy while you are travelling around. So when it comes to buying accessories this initiative can really kick off in India.
These kiosks are likely to be operated by a staff from Mi who would be present there within the operational hours to guide people about their purchases. This might be an added advantage which would surely guarantee the safety of such kiosks as well as make the consumer experience easier.
Also, the setting and operating costs are not at a higher side in comparison to having a proper outlet which makes Mi reach a wider consumer base and at the same time tackle the problem of having an adequate supply of their products in comparison to the demand.
In India, we barely have any food vending machines but Xiaomi’s move of installing smartphone vending machines surely shows intent. Only time will tell where this intent gets them to.
Image Credits: Google Images and Deeksha
Find the blogger at @AarooshJairath