Google, HP and Microsoft are among the big brand tech firms beginning to use temporary stores as a way to boost their retail presence before Christmas.
Google has set up six temporary ‘Winter Wonderlab’ showrooms in shopping malls across America to allow consumers to try out products such as Android smartphones and tablets, the Chromecast streaming stick and Chromebooks from a number of vendors.
HP is also making a move in the physical retail space – quite literally. The PC and print giant is trucking across America on a tech roadtrip, demonstrating its latest products in major cities.
It has also set up two mini-stores inside of the Nebraska Furniture Mart, as well as several within stores along the East Coast and dotted across the US.
Microsoft has also jumped on the trend, with 31 pop-up stores ready to complement an existing 51 permanent locations in order to boost holiday sales.
Some observers have seen the move by predominantly digital firms as an attempt to recreate the success of Apple’s stripped-back, hands-on stores.
"Everyone in retail has looked at Apple in the last few years to try and replicate what they’ve done," Stephen Baker, an NPD Group analyst, told the San Jose Mercury News.
"If you are dabbling in hardware you have to be in front of the customer."
"They have to be where the public goes and frequents – and that’s the mall," added David Johnson, CEO of branding firm Strategic Vision.
"Your tech geeks are going to order online. But before you’re going to see mass consumption, people are going to want to touch the products."