Google this week opened its first Google shop, inside a branch of Currys PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road.
The move, billed as a world first for the search company-turned-retailer, follows the roll out of Google Zones within Currys and PC World stores in 2012. Last year Currys and PC World became the first stores to sell the Chromecast device from Google that enables viewers to streamentertainment over their televisions.
Visitors to the new Google shop-within-a-shop can test out its Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecasts.
But they can also test out Google’s software tools and apps in a physical setting, ‘flying’ through any part of Google Earth through a Portal surround screen installation or using digital spray cans to paint their own version of the Google logo before sharing on social media. In a Chromecast Pod customers can watch Google Play movies, YouTube and more, via a Chromecast dongle. The store will play host to coding tutorials for children and host regular events for teachers.
Two further outlets will open later this year in Currys PC World megastores in Thurrock and Fulham.
Google’s James Elias said: “We’re incredibly excited to launch this space – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – in London with Currys PC World.
“The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years. With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected, seamless online life.
“We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience.”
Ainsley Sykes, senior project manager for Currys PC World, owned by Dixons Carphone , said: “We are delighted to partner with Google in bringing a world first retail experience to one of our stores. This will be a new and innovative way for customers to engage in store, interacting with the immersive technology as well as having fun while learning. Google experts will be on hand to maximise the experience for users and provide help and support around the Google eco-system. This fantastic space compliments the interactive and informative environment we aim to create for customers visiting all of our stores.”
Commenting, Bruno Berthezene, UK country manager at Solocal Group, said: “This move by Google highlights that even in this hyperconnected digital age of retail, having a physical presence on the high street is still vital for helping brands to better engage with consumers and increase sales.
“Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically in recent years and we have seen the escalation of ‘webrooming’. As a result, retailers and brands are recognising the need for and benefits achieved by implementing the right web-to-store marketing solutions and tactics, such as click and collect and store locators, to drive qualified traffic in-store and provide the seamless shopping experience between online and offline that consumers are wanting.
“By recognising the need to keep up with the pace of innovation in the retail space and implementing marketing strategies that keep in mind the value of the in-store experience, brands can encourage loyalty, brand awareness, retention and conversion – which all ultimately have a great impact on the bottom line and increase ROI.”
Pixel Projects worked on the project alongside retail and design and project management company Make Retail. Keith Morris, global retail manager at Pixel Projects, said: “We constructed the first mock up in California for Google’s Retail Design team and worked tirelessly through to prototype build, development and final deployment in the UK.
“The result is remarkable; you only have to witness the excitement from the public to see what a success it all is. I can’t wait to see the next instalment.”