Google Plans Own Retail Stores to Sell Premium Hardware

Internet Company Mulls Offline Stores to Boost Online Business

by Anton Shilov
02/19/2013 | 09:41 PM

Google, the world’s largest search engine and advertising broker, plans to establish a retail chain in the United States to improve sales of gadgets powered by its software. The chain will compete primarily against Apple and Microsoft retail stores, but the question is what exactly Google will sell there, considering the fact that its own hardware offerings are scarce, whereas Android ecosystem is just too broad.

 

As sales of consumer electronics is rapidly migrating to the Internet and the traditional retail stores are losing ground, it becomes increasingly hard to take a look on actual devices before purchase. While technically savvy buyers usually read product reviews before ordering, many consumers still want to check devices themselves. So, a lot of people visit Apple stores, where it is possible to try notebooks, tablets and other products before buying them. As a result, Apple is gaining market share, particularly in the U.S., something that makes Google and Microsoft worry.

In a bid to offer alternative to Apple’s stores, Microsoft started to open its own shops in the U.S. several years ago. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is now also looking forward to establish its own retail chain.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility last year to boost its hardware development efforts. Nonetheless, the latest breed of Google’s premium smartphones and tablets were developed and built by Asustek Computer, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics. Google itself is working on numerous hardware projects, including famous Google Glass augmented reality gadget. All-in-all, everything points to rather serious hardware-related plans at Google.

With own retail stores, Google will be able to explain end-users how to take advantage of Android-based devices, Chrome-powered notebooks as well as Google Glass wearable computing device. However, considering the fact that Google’s ecosystem is much broader than Google’s own-brand hardware offerings, it remains to be seen how Google plans to organize its retail sales. Selling only own-brand hardware will probably anger Android partners as the OS developer will compete against them. But putting too many devices on the shelves of retail stores will make customer choice more complicated.

Google did not comment on the news-story.