February 18, 2013
Now Google Wants A Retail Presence
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Despite obvious comparison which will be made, and despite their penchant to be more robot than human, it looks as if Google will be opening their own brand of retail stores across major metropolitan areas in the US.
According to 9to5Google.com, these stores should be opened and ready to receive customers by the 2013 holiday season.
The Android creator is expected to use their retail presence to sell their branded line of Nexus smartphones and tablets, as well as their Chrome line of software and those futuristic glasses, should they ever decide what to do with them.
While the decision to go into retail is a radical one for a company who existed solely as a search engine and ad generator for some many years, it´s not out of the ordinary, or even unexpected. As the mobile world charges forward, other companies have also found it necessary to bring their message directly to the people on the streets. Microsoft and Samsung, for instance, have famously placed their stores within spitting distance of those iconic and extremely profitable Apple stores, seemingly in hopes that some of this charm will rub off.
According to Seth Weintraub´s “unnamed sources” of the 9to5Google piece, these stores will be a much “broader play” than the Google pop-up stores which “popped up” in a handful of major airports or even their own little sections of Best Buy and Dixon stores.
Google has set up shop in 100 Best Buy locations around the US, stocking their corners with their own Blue Shirts to show off Chrome in both iterations; Either the browser or the web-based operating system. Customers can visit these locations to get some hands-on time with these products and have any questions answered.
Yet, when it comes time to put their money where their mouths are, Best Buy and Dixon stores jump in to handle the transaction. Currently, these Google Blue Shirts, unlike Apple´s Original Blue Shirts, are unable to handle cash and are there only to educate rather than meet sales quotas.
According to these Unnamed Sources, though the company is still deciding what they should do with their glasses project, they have decided one thing: Customers will need to be persuaded to buy these things, and the best way to do that will be to bring them to the streets of busy metropolitan areas.
Though this report claims Google´s stores will be ready by the end of this year, the last we´ve heard about Google Glass availability is that they´ll ship sometime in “2014.”
Google recently held a pair of developer´s conferences in San Francisco and New York to get some ideas from non-employees about what they could be doing with these glasses. With the project still in the planning phase, any release may be slated towards the holiday season of 2014, potentially leaving these potential stores Glass-less for an entire year.
It must be mentioned, of course, that they´ll be competing with Apple in yet another market with these stores. It must also be mentioned that Apple stores are not only wildly successful, they´re also the only company to be able to successfully run one of these kinds of stores. They´ve outlived Dell and Gateway, and while no official sales numbers have been given (Microsoft only mentions that 19.8 million have walked into their stores) one can easily assume Microsoft and Samsung aren´t making nearly as much as Cupertino from their brick-and-mortar operations. .
Their Nexus products have become quite popular in recent years, of course. Perhaps these products alone and some sky-diving demos will be enough to sustain these stores until Glass is released?