Google’s First Store Pops Up in London

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Advertising, Brand management, Marketing
Tags: , , , , ,

It has been more than 1 month since I put my last post. But I have a valid reason for this discontinuity, not an excuse. I have arrived to London for my master degree and been trying to settle down. This is the first time in London and I hope it won’t be the last time. And for at least 1 year, I will be writing from London. I think it will be a good chance not only for me but also for you. Because in London I have a chance to reach different sources as well as experiencing different markets so I will be able to share sometimes interesting but sometimes maybe not so interesting matters.

Everyday in the tube, I am reading the newspaper “Metro” distributed freely and sometimes I see interesting news from marketing, brand management, social media and so on, which is worth to sharing. This headline above is from this newspaper.

Definitely, Google is the ultimate brand of the internet era. It is a brand which most of the time makes us surprised with its thinking way out of the box. However, a few days ago Google embraced a more traditional form of retail technology for the first time in its history.

The world’s first “Google store” was opened in the less glamorous setting of PC World in Tottenham Court Road. Unfortunately, I have not been there yet although it is only 10 minutes away from my university. But I am planning to go as soon as possible.

The 285 sq ft pop-up shop — within a shop — only sells Google’s Chromebook laptop and a few accessories such as headphones. It is planned to run for three months up to Christmas. However, Google might follow its great rival Apple in opening permanent stores around the world if this experimental shop becomes successful.

On the other hand, very few people were aware of Google shop — officially known as “the Chromezone” — and there were certainly no queues round the block in contrast to huge Apple Store in Regent Street.

Arvin Desikan, head of consumer marketing at Google UK, said: “It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s stil very very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads.”

Emphasizing that the company’s research had shown 80 per cent of laptop sales are through shops, he added: “We found anecdotally that when people tried the device and played with it, that made huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about. People will be able to go in and have a play with the devices. We want to see whether people understand what this device is all about and monitor their reaction when they try it out.”

To date the Samsung-made Chromebook has only been available in the UK online from Amazon and PC World. It costs £349 for the wi-fi only version and £399 for wi-fi and 3G.

A second pop-up store is expected to oepn at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex on October 7 and more pilot shops are planned around the world in the coming months. A spokeswoman said: “We’ve put a lot of effort into making it feel welcoming, homely and, dare I say it, ‘Googley’.”

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