Tech giant Google could be going lo-fi with their first brick-and-mortar retail shop in New York City, Entrepreneur reports. How cool would it be to buy a t-shirt with the Chrome logo? Actually… don’t answer that.
Rumor has it that Google will be settling down near the Apple Store located in SoHo, a neighborhood located in lower Manhattan. If this were true, it would be a perfect way for Google to gain ground on Apple’s competitive edge. “Apple has had a long history of pulling in revenue due to tangible goods: iPods, iPads, MacBooks, Apple computers etc. Google, on the other hand, has made its fortunes through digital advertising. So this makes it hard for “consumers to picture what exactly Google wants to plug beyond its much-hyped Glass,” SFGate says.
“Twenty percent off all search algorithms, this weekend only!” SFGate joked, mocking Google’s rumored move to retail.
Google’s got a pretty impressive product inventory: Wallet, Nexus line, Chromebooks, Chromecast, Google TV. Plus, Google Glass and a smartwatch are in the works — Google is strategically trying to reposition itself as a company that has stuff to sell to shoppers. So why not create a physical space for customers to engage with the devices and inquire about the specs?
“Being associated with retail is very important to Google’s growth,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of Newmarketbuilders retail consulting firm. “The company needs to accelerate the shift in consumer perceptions that it is more than just a search engine.”
And Google is taking it’s sweet ol’ time with its possible transition into retail, a good thing because retail ain’t easy. These tech experts, while they may be top-of-the-line engineers, need to have a good grasp of “real estate, merchandising, inventory management, and hiring and training salespeople,” SFGate says.
Last week, Crain’s New York reported that Google has already leased an 8,000-square-foot space, located on 131 Greene Street, for their first store, but the Wall Street Journal squashed that rumor calling it “absolutely false.”
That’s too bad. “Greene Street would be an auspicious place to open a store,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman at New York’s Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Because the running joke among NYC real estate circles is that Greene Street ““is where the green is found.”