Google begins search for retail stores

18 Feb 13

Google is in the early stages of building stand-alone retail stores across the U.S., according to a reliable source close to 9to5.

The search engine, searching for better ways to get more products into public hands, will open stores by the end of the year.

The aim of giving Google a physical presence on the high-street stems from the company's desire to introduce the new Google Nexus, Chrome and any other new products into the public domain, allowing prospective customers the chance to sample any product before purchase.

Following in the footsteps of industry rivals Apple and Microsoft, who both hold stores across the world, Google plans to expand on its current high-street philosophy.

With hundreds of store-within-a-store models scattered across the U.S. and UK, the venture is not exactly new however.

But where current Google in-store staff have no sales targets and act purely as sources of information and knowledge, it would appear any new store will operate independently and make sales directly to customers from Google.

"I find it difficult to buy Google products directly from the internet as I've never had chance to examine any potential purchase," says John Thornton, from Auckland.

"By giving customers a first-hand experience of their products, I believe it can only help sales.

"After all, who would prefer to buy something blind online when you can check it out for yourself?"

Yet with the plan initially set for the U.S., Kiwis will no doubt face a long wait to see a Google store in Queen Street.

The move appears logical, and a step that Apple CEO Tim Cook believes puts Apple on another level to its online-based competitors.

"I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad if it weren’t for our stores," Cook told analysts at the Goldman Sachs conference last month.

"It gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage. Others have found out it’s not so easy to replicate.

"We’re going to continue to invest like crazy. The average store last year was over 50 million in revenue."

Is diving into retail a good move for Google? Should they have made the move earlier? Tell us your thoughts below

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