1. Stores & Formats

Google To Open First Permanent Bricks-And-Mortar Store

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google plans to open a new, permanent bricks-and-mortar store in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood in the next few weeks, selling Google merchandise, hosting workshops and providing repair services.

Among the items that will be sold are “items such as Google’s Pixel phones, Nest smart thermostats and Fitbit wearable devices.”

The store will be located on what essentially a Google campus in the area, where it owns several buildings. The company has operated pop-up stores before, but this is the first venture into permanent physical retailing.

While Apple has continued to put a major emphasis on its bricks-and-mortar stores (though the pandemic affected their accessibility over the past year), Microsoft has gone in the opposite direction, essentially exiting physical retailing a decade after getting into the space.

KC’s View:
Google has been talking about building out a physical fleet of stores for almost a decade, and so I guess they’ve finally figured out what they want these stores to be.

The problem with the Microsoft stores was that they were Apple store lookalikes and wannabes … I remember thinking and saying that pretty much from the first time I saw them. It always was remarkable to me that whenever I saw an Apple Store near a Microsoft Store, virtually every time the latter would be empty and Apple would be packed.

Google is a different company, but it also has to carve out a different approach to physical retailing. We’ll see.

By the way, I dug this FaceTime video on the subject out of the archives … from 2014.

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