HTC has just started a new push towards retail stores, with the first of three flagship locations in Taiwan cutting the ribbon yesterday. From those three shops, the company plans to expand its presence to 100 new stores. The big question is, will those stay in Southeast Asia, or could HTC follow Apple’s lead and spread its stores worldwide?
Part of the iPhone’s success has got to be due to the prevalence of Apple Stores, with over 300 around the globe. With other manufacturer’s phones sold by network carriers or other retail partners, only Apple’s managed to give its users a direct line to experienced support staff who know the company’s products inside and out. Could a one-stop-shop for all things HTC empower the company to provide the same level of customer service which Apple is known for?
Assuming the company does expand its global presence with these stores, there are still some significant obstacles between HTC and an Apple Store-level retail experience. Until now, Apple’s been lucky with essentially having one phone to sell, on one carrier, with limited plan options. All the variables HTC would have to deal with, from Android and WP7 systems under one roof, to keeping abreast of all the different options offered by the carriers supporting its products, could very well lead to confused customers, if not staff members.
We’re hoping HTC’s experiment works out, and its stores start popping up all over the place. Even if it can’t quite pull off Apple’s magic, we welcome any chance to buy phones directly from their manufacturers. The US’s carriers-selling-phones model isn’t going away anytime soon, but every move away from it is progress.