After hearing about the first Google shop, I couldn’t help but stop by Tottenham Court Road’s PC World/Currys store-within-a-store and take a look.
The shop offers five pit stops, where visitors can get their hands on various laptops and the Nexus smartphone and tablet. The store is akin to Apple in its simple yet stylish layout, and as soon as I entered a friendly assistant approached to show me around.
There’s a giant surround screen that’s been dubbed the ‘portal’, which allows users to fly around the world using Google Maps. By using the stylus, visitors can start their journey in Italy and finish up in America. A Doodle Wall allows visitors to dabble in graffiti art using a digital spray can to create their own take on the Google logo.
Elsewhere, the Chromecast pod plays movie content and YouTube for anyone looking to chill out and escape the hustle and bustle of the London street.
Although the store is indeed good fun, Google is also hoping to host regular classes and events, ranging from online security to showing customers how devices work.
Interactivity is a core theme, with the Doodle Wall and Portal offering visitors the chance to get creative. While this practical approach could be difficult for all indie PC stores and other smaller retailers along the High Street to emulate, I think it is something that they can at least take inspiration from.
If retailers started to offer customers the chance to play around with products more freely, this interactivity will drive customer engagement, and no doubt word of mouth about the experience will help to bring in more custom. Retailers could also take a leaf out of Google’s book by holding tuition classes, creating another revenue source.
Google’s marketing director James Elias has said that the store offers a unique try-before-you-buy experience, and I think the store managed just that. The hands-on approach and introduction to each virtual section made the experience more appealing.
It can certainly give other tech retailers food for thought.
Check out our image gallery of the store by clicking the image below: