Mara store
Mara phones store front Maponya Mall
  • The Mara smartphone, assembled in a KwZulu-Natal factory, now has an experience store at Maponya Mall in Soweto.
  • It is the first of about 50 stores that the group plans to roll out in South Africa
  • The 46m2 store shows off the phones, both physically and virtually, and then you can lay-buy.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

Locally assembled smartphone Mara has launched its first "experience store" in Soweto’s Maponya Mall, with plans to open over 50 more in various locations across the country.

Mara store
Mara experience store

The Mara phone is put together at a Durban smartphone plant, which was launched to some fanfare in October with a link to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive and, and the government’s ambitions for South Africa to become a technology leader.

It launched two models in 2019, the Mara Z and Mara X smartphones, and recently added its entry level Mara S as well as the Mara X1, and a high-end offering, the Mara Z1. All of the phones run on an Android operating system. 

Franchise store owner Chante Jantjies said the compact store, 46m2 in size, was built to allow customers to experience the full range of the manufacturer's phones.

Mara store
Mara 3D display

The new store is equipped with a virtual reality corner showing a revolving 3D Mara phone inside a see-through half globe on the wall.  

Mara store
In-store digital displat

The in-store retail display also includes a plasma screen showing the range, as well as the specs and features of the smartphones.

Mara store
Mara Store

The phones are spread out across the floor, allowing customers to experiment with the different models.

The store also offers tailored credit facilities, including lay-buys – requested by many people who can not show proof of income. 

"We’re finding that in this mall a lot of people have one sort of formal job and they have a lot of informal ways of earning money that is not recognised," said Jantjies.

Bryn Anders, head of the Mara Phones experience stores said the Mara Phones Lab team is currently developing a tablet for certain departments of government, including the department of education.

“You might see us launch a tablet… We’ve now designed one and we’ve manufactured a few test devices. You might see us launch tablets soon,” Anders said

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