It is becoming clear the world is gravitating towards everything Apple sells and even worse for the competition is Cupertino is setting the tone for product launches, making the rest of the tech world play perpetual catch up. Even worse, Apple is buying up all available inventory on components forcing companies as big and mighty as RIM to push back the launch of their PlayBook tablet! Of course one of the most important parts of Apple’s success is the stores – those minimalist tech nirvanas attracting people of all ages to literally trip over one another as they touch and feel the latest gadgets and computers connected to huge flat-screens with the latest in audio equipment.
Here are the top 11 reasons why Google needs a strong retail strategy ASAP.
- To compete more effectively with Apple and most recently Microsoft who is still wavering on whether a store strategy makes sense.
- To showcase Android smartphones: Sure, you can go to Verizon or the AT&T stores to see Android devices but Apple has shown us that owning the experience is important and moreover the halo effect of selling other products to a captive audience is working amazingly well for the company which made the white headphone cord popular. Now that Android is on fire, the company should leverage its success to sell other current and future consumer electronics products.
- To showcase Android tablets: At the moment, the iPad is crushing the competition without any one company making a serious dent in Apple’s early success. Hey even Consumers Reports’ the group which had negative things to say about the iPhone 4 likes the iPad 2. “So far, Apple is leading the tablet market in both quality and price, which is unusual for a company whose products are usually premium priced," said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports. Most people including me expect Android tablets to begin to take share but to date we aren’t seeing anything worth writing home about. Perhaps the Sony tablet based on Android expected later this year is something worth bragging about and showcasing.
- To showcase Android-powered TVs: A great way to convince consumers they need an Android-powered television is to show them in action searching, interconnecting with YouTube and other leading-edge things that wow an audience.
- To showcase Google TV: The Logitech Revue needs all the help it can get as Google has had issues with content providers disabling the free viewing of their programs over this and other Google TV-powered devices.
- To Showcase YouTube: Google is launching new channels on YouTube and spending $100M in the process on content. Seems like this is something worth showing off, right?
- To showcase printers which support Google Cloud Print: Yesterday TMCnet learned HP printers will support Google Cloud Print out of the box – what better place to show it in action than in a store?
- To showcase GPS devices which support Google Maps and Earth: For heaven sakes, the company has people riding around in tricycles and snowmobiles so it can make its GPS and mapping systems better than others. Wouldn’t it make sense to highlight these efforts and even show a video interviewing Sven – the loyal tricycler who logged 50 miles a week so you could sit on the couch and experience Sweden vicariously?
- To showcase the company’s laptop offerings: One day soon Google’s laptop offering will become reality and a logical place to sell such a device is a store – similar to the way Apple sells its laptops and desktops.
- To get people using NFC and Google Checkout: It’s no surprise the search leader wants to be a payment leader and even though Checkout seems to be a flop – with NFC on tap for future versions of Android – coupled with Checkout, perhaps the company can gain traction in the mobile payment/online payment space.
Bonus: To showcase the products Google sells online like YouTube shirts and Google branded hacky sacks and tote bags.
What does Google say about all this? Nothing so far – I reached out via email and the company wasn’t immediately available to give a response via email or phone but it seems the opportunity is there for the company built primarily on keyword based online advertising to use its tremendous name recognition to drive crowds into stores. If they can get the presentation and execution correct, they could benefit tremendously from such an endeavor.