You’ve seen Apple stores. You may have also seen Microsoft stores. But, a Google store? Today, some sources are stating that Google is working on opening up some of its own retail locations – just when the world thought that retail was dead. Google may be opening up these stores to showcase new devices that aren’t selling as fast as the company would like. Additionally, Google will no doubt be showcasing Google Glass too.
Interestingly, Best Buy reports this morning that its sales are down and that “showcasing” of certain products is largely dead. So, why would Google open up a store if consumers aren’t buying devices from stores any longer? It may be that consumers are buying from stores, but not from big box retail stores like Best Buy. Instead, consumers may be looking to buy directly from the source, and this is exactly what companies like Google might be banking on.
Apple began the whole “expert” craze when the company opened up its first stores. Designating store employees “experts” puts consumer minds at ease. You walk into an Apple store, speak with someone who is well-versed about Apple products, and walk out feeling confident that all of your questions have been answered and that you have purchased the right product. This makes a good deal of sense. So much sense, in fact, that BMW is also working on its own set of experts.
Stealing a page from Apple’s playbook, BMW will soon have a set of experts in each showroom. In exactly the same vein as Apple experts, BMW experts will be able to answer all questions about the company’s cars. It certainly looks like consumers are leaning more towards buying products form company stores like Apple, Microsoft, BMW, and Google, and less towards going to a major retailer like Best Buy or Walmart in order to purchase products. Consumers are now seeking personalized and individualized attention, and this makes perfect sense for a company like Google.
The Cost of a Retail Store
The one major flaw in the retail plan, though, is the cost of opening up a retail shop. Renting a space, buying fixtures, and hiring employees is expensive. If you add up the amount of coin that Google doesn’t make on products like the Nexus lineup, the move to retail spaces may not make sense. Google will have to sell a lot of its products in order to justify the cost of a retail space.
Then again, Google may just begin selling those Nexus devices if physical stores and experts are taken into account. Consumers like the trust that can be put into an expert and the buying experience of purchasing goods from a retail store. Whether or not that confidence is fake, it’s clear that the consumer world is heading more offline than online these days. Google has yet to confirm the retail rumor, but I am expecting the company to do so within the next few months. Stay tuned for more information about this story!