Mumbai: Apple today pulled back the covers on its first store in India, Apple BKC, at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, in a special media preview ahead of its official launch for customers on 18 April. Unlike Apple resellers, which have thus far served Apple customers in India, the store represents the brand bringing its retail experience into the country, a blend of its portfolio of products, its famed service levels and its education sessions.
“At Apple, our customers are at the centre of everything we do, and our teams are excited to celebrate this wonderful moment with them as we open our first retail store in India,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail. “Apple BKC is a reflection of Mumbai’s vibrant culture and brings together the best of Apple in a beautiful, welcoming space for connection and community,” O’Brien added.
Located at the edge of the upscale Jio World Drive Mall, Apple BKC spans well over 22,000 square feet spread over two levels, with an expansive, double-height, tree-lined ground level featuring Apple’s latest products across the iPhone, iPad, Watch and Mac product lines alongside Apple’s audio, TV and services offerings. A 14-meter-long stainless-steel staircase leads visitors up to the cantilevered mezzanine level where buyers can find accessories for their Apple products, and the two levels are surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling glass façade seen in many Apple Stores globally.
The defining characteristic of the store is a triangular handcrafted timber ceiling that extends beyond the glass walls to the underside of the exterior canopy. Each tile is made from 408 pieces of timber, forming 31 modules per tile with a total of 1,000 tiles that make up the ceiling, and each of over 450,000 individual timber elements in the Mumbai store were assembled in Delhi. In a nod to Apple’s sustainability initiatives, the store is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient Apple Retail locations across the world, with a dedicated solar array ensuring a claimed zero reliance on fossil fuels for store operations.
As a town-square for customers, the BKC store operates as a cross between a retail and a centre for education, and is supported by the staff of 100 employees that speak 20 languages between them. As with other retail locations globally, Apple BKC includes the new Genius Grove (for professional assistance via scheduled sessions with Apple Geniuses) as well as in-store experiences called ‘Today at Apple’, which include sessions on creative applications spanning music, video/audio editing, among others.
The Cupertino, California headquartered technology company’s retail initiatives come at a time when the brand is leaning in heavily on its investments in manufacturing in India to reduce its dependence on its manufacturing partners in China, and the stores at BKC and Saket in Delhi (launching later this week) will help the brand gain a stronger foothold in this growing market.
Tushar Kanwar, a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar.