Google, the mega-web-based giant is seriously considering going into the retail store market. What products they’re selling, you may ask? Why, their top-notch Nexus brands, of course. There are rumors circulating around the internet that Google will start operating its own physical retail stores as soon as the 2013 Holiday season comes in the United States. While physical shops from an internet company does sound a bit far-fetched, it was sort of to be expected. Google is breaking out of its box in the grandest of ways and the most recent additions to the Nexus line are proving it has a real chance at establishing a direct relationship with its customers.
Google has been struggling to keep its newest Nexus 4 smartphone ( the one made by LG ) in stocks ever since it came out. The phone was mostly unavailable in the Google Play store until recently. Now the efforts to sell retail and the plans to open outlets weren’t just a fling of the moment. It has been considered ever since the Nexus One in 2010. It was actually put into application back then, but the sales were stopped just after a few months since there were very few customers who opted to pay full price and get it without contractual restrictions.
Many think that they’re building on a firm foundation of failure. Yet, they did a few great things with their Nexuses so far. The tablets they started selling via their online shops have a large advantage over the previously attempted Nexus One. They offer no-strings-attached hardware at a bargain basement price. As Google seems to have learned, hardware sales will not work if the customer is asked to take a cost hit in exchange for contractual freedom. The customer required both and wasn’t willing to trade economy for freedom.
Now Google knows online sales better than anyone, and it appears to have worked itself out pretty well in the case of the Nexus 4, and at least half as well for the Nexus tablets. However, Google is still missing the key ingredient that helped Apple‘s iPad greatly increase in popularity in the consumer’s eyes. There is a rumor floating around that Google is taking lessons from their greatest competitor, Apple, about how to possibly finally come up with a significant breakthrough for the Android tablet market shares.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has openly states on several occasions that Apple’s retail shops greatly impacted the iPad sales. Most recently, actually, he attributed that the iPad’s success worldwide is mostly due to the Apple physical stores, and the opportunities it provided to make believers out of customers who might otherwise not necessarily understood Apple’s tablet as a product category. Below you can find the actual quote of the CEO when asked about the matter:
“One of the things that’s not understood that well about the stores is that I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful in the iPad as an example if it weren’t for our stores,” said Cook. He noted that people’s view of the tablet, prior to the iPad, “ingrained in their minds [was] a heavy thing that no one wanted.”
Google requires a device to achieve the same thing with Android on it, or to at least come close to that. Making an “experience”-biased retail store akin to the Apple one doesn’t necessarily guarantee consumers will warm up to the Android tablets, but it is a risk that’s probably at least worth taking, given the fact that Google has received a lot of positive indicators from its online retail efforts lately. Apple itself seems to place a lot of credit for the iPad’s success on the store’s shoulders alone.
Google needs a foothold in the door right now, and maybe their devices aren’t the answer. Perhaps by trying it out with customer outreach they might have a shot at becoming something bigger than they already are. Only time will tell whether or not this gamble was worth taking.