World’s first Google store has recently opened in Tottenham Court Road, in London. This small pop-up store is currently selling Chromebooks, which are built and optimized for the web, and a few accessories; like headphones. But this store is open only until Christmas. The new store is called the “Chrome Zone”; it’s an experiment for Google. For the giant this is the first foray into physical retail stores.
The new concept is still in its early days. Arvind Desikan, Google UK’s head of consumer marketing, said it’s a new era for Google. Google is smart to open up a physical store. According to Desikan, 80 percent of laptop sales are bought in retail stores. This makes a lot of sense. Most people like to try something out before they spend a significant amount of money on it.
The launch was low key compared to Apple’s massively hyped opening of its first London shop in 2004, but Google claimed that it will experiment with the format and could open more retail outlets in the future.
Google believes that hands-on time with Chromebooks is really all it takes to get people interested in the device. Though this is the first retail store for Google, it isn’t the first Chrome Zone. Google started offering Chromebooks to passengers travelling between San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Boston, and Dallas-Fort Worth with Virgin Airlines. Passengers are able to check out a Chromebook for their flight at one of these Chrome Zones. Also, guests at the Ace Hotel in New York City were offered a Chromebook to use during their stay. The goal of Google is to give people a chance to try Chromebook, something normally not be interested in such a devise.
Desikan said that playing with the Chromebook made a “huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebooks is all about.” Like at Apple Stores, customers can come in and play around with the device. A second retail store will be opening up in Essex on October 7. More pop-up shops are expected around the world, and if all goes well with these trial shops, Google may decide to keep the retail businesses going.