A fusion between in-store purchase and virtual tour, with the aim of reinventing the services dedicated to sales. This is the experiment implemented by Xiaomi with the opening of Casa Xiaomi and the launch of the new “Digital Consultant” service, a real personal assistant who will accompany us on a journey to discover the smart life products offered by the giant Chinese.
Casa Xiaomi is not just any home: it is located in the center of Milan, located within the Brera Design District. It will be possible to visit, for now only virtually, starting from next June 18th by connecting to Mi.com, where a catalog of products on sale is already available. From there, you can then make an appointment with the digital consultant, to ask for an in-depth video call on the smart objects that populate the home – just as happens in the Mi Stores around the world, which have recently reached 1000. An attempt to respond to the changes imposed by the pandemic, using technology to achieve a shopping experience as close as possible to the real one.
As in the store, the assistant will guide us by intervening also with practical demonstrations on smart products, designed to create a real ecosystem where the brand lives and breathes. Unlike the shop, however, the products will be placed in a home environment, to immediately give the customer the idea of how objects can operate within the home.
“It’s a project we care a lot about,” says Davide Lunardelli, marketing director of Xiaomi Italia. «Xiaomi has always been associated with a broader idea of technology: not just smartphones but a set of interconnected products. Since our arrival in Italy », he continues,« we have tried to present our idea of “smart life”, and the Xiaomi house is the concrete demonstration of this ».
The company, based in Beijing, is now celebrating its first three years in Italy, and it does so with important numbers: in second place among smartphone sellers in Europe and in Italy in the first quarter of 2021, with an annual growth of 91% and a market share of 25%.
«We started in Italy», Lunardelli comments, «with a handful of fans of the very first hour, very attached to the brand but attributable to a narrow niche. We also had a somewhat strange name, which could represent an obstacle for the Italian market ». Much has changed since then. “Our strategy actually worked,” continues Lunardelli. “The key move was to inaugurate some Mi Stores already two days after their launch on the territory, and this allowed us to immediately establish a relationship of trust with our customers”.
An aggressive pricing strategy is also important, coupled with a set of features rarely seen in that range. «It is a philosophical choice of our founder Lei Jun», Lunardelli comments, «who since 2018 has set the strategy of not having margins on physical products higher than 5%. The quality of what we produce also deserves a separate discussion: at a mid-range level, Xiaomi has really changed the rules of the market, proposing features and innovations that are typical of higher ranges ».
Having to choose only one key element of such impressive growth in the territory, Lunardelli has no doubts: the watchword is community. “Sometimes you see communities that stand up only in the face of certain returns for the company,” says Lunardelli. “Xiaomi, on the other hand, is a special case. It all started with passionate developers installing MIUI (Xiaomi’s user interface, ed) in their smartphones. Today this small group of very loyal fans has turned into a community of about 400,000 people who interact directly with us on the online forums, plus over 90 fan clubs throughout Italy. This was “, he concludes,” the fundamental element to achieve the results we have today.
The new Digital Consultant service will be available on the mi.com website from 12.00 on Friday 18 June.