How Google is Experimenting with Pop-up Stores
By Tricia McKinnon
Who said bricks and mortar retail is dead? Google similar to other tech companies like Facebook opened pop-up stores in Chicago and in New York last October. The “Hardware Store” featured Google’s products including the Pixel smartphone, the Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate as well as Google Home smart speakers.
The store in Chicago was reminiscent of the Apple store but with some extras. It has a small kitchen where customers can try out connected devices using voice commands. For example, by asking the Google Home device in the kitchen for a snack it opens kitchen drawers. Pressing the doorbell on a Nest device opens the door to a mock treehouse which then can be used to turn on lights, open the blinds and control the temperature.
While eCommerce is popular some of the key benefits of bricks and mortar stores is that they allow customers to touch and feel products, provide great advertising and walk-in traffic. Regarding the Hardware pop-up store Google spokeswoman Kayla Conti said: “we’re known for our search products. A lot of it is product awareness and education, which is why we’re experimenting with these pop-ups in Chicago and New York.”
Rival competitors such as Apple and Microsoft already have a well-established retail presence. To-date Google’s physical retail presence has focused on selling products through a “store within a store” concept in retailers such as Best Buy. Perhaps Google’s bricks and mortar store will become a permanent fixture in 2019. It was reported by the Chicago Tribune that Google plans to open a two-story permanent flagship store in Chicago. The most recent pop ups which ran from October 20 to December 31 2018 will certainly give Google more data on what to do next.