Ahead of opening this summer, we got a preview yesterday of the first Google Store in New York City. The company has mentionned that the retail location is a “big next step” for its hardware division. For potential visitors, what are you most excited to do in a Google Store?
There are a lot of unknowns about Google’s first permanent foray into retail. On the one hand, we don’t know if the company’s hardware division sees physical spaces as mere “experience stores” or if it envisions a chain. The former might see Google opening only a handful of locations in key cities, while the latter would be a significant engagement in retail and direct-to-customer sales.
We look forward to meeting many of our customers and hearing their feedback on the store, so that we can continue to explore and experience the possibilities of a physical retail space and learn from the experience.
At launch, Google appeared to imply that it would be more akin to the Apple Store model. After all, the importance of a store is questionable if there are no other plans to learn and grow from it.
That brings us to today’s question: Assuming a location is conveniently located in your neighborhood, what do you expect from a Google Store?
Learn more about products and demos
From big box retailers to transport stores, finding Pixel and Nest products isn’t too difficult these days. However, using a traditional phone demo experience is sorely lacking in thick security mechanisms that don’t allow you to really feel the phone in your hand or take pictures. Likewise, smart home products like security cameras are very rarely active. The Google Store might have experiments to showcase the Pixel’s camera – like funny objects / setups for taking photos – and the assistant.
Meanwhile, the real advantage is in products like Chromecast with Google TV and Stadia. It would be the first retail release for the latter product and its controller, while the pre-pandemic experience for Chromecast has always been a looping video.
Buy equipment and accessories / pick up in store
Again, buying Google products from conventional retailers is easy today, but go straight to trade updates. Meanwhile, Pixel phone accessories are sometimes hard to find in person, but the Google Store would likely be well stocked. This also leads to the next point.
Troubleshooting and configuration
During take-over, there will likely be some setup and transfer assistance that could occur under the watchful eye of an employee. Point of sale also offers Google a tremendous opportunity to tackle the belief that it is difficult to get help for their products. If they are ubiquitous enough, people might be more likely to talk to a person in real life rather than browsing chats and forums.
If there was a hardware issue, a large network of Google Stores would give you a default location to fix it. This would correspond to Apple’s network and an option for people who have had bad experiences in the past sending products in for repair. Hopefully some repairs, like cracked screens, could even be done the same day given the current volume of Google products.
Organizing photography courses for the Pixel is a given. Traveling sessions, like the Apple Store Photo Walks, in some cities could focus on the community aspects of the Google Store. Other lessons could educate new users about Chromebooks and setting up a smart home.
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