Google Expands into Retail in Canada with Shops in Best Buy

After introducing its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Chromecast Ultra and Daydream View VR headset, Google launched retail venues, with a pop-up Experience Store in New York City and stores within select Best Buy locations in Canada. At the Canadian stores, Google will showcase hardware, offer public activities and create a sense of community, similar to Apple stores. In charge is director of retail marketing Janell Fischer, who worked in Apple’s retail division before joining Google three years ago.

TechCrunch notes that the stores’ décor is similar to Apple stores, “but distinctly Google in its aesthetic, with light wood grain and gray fabric pairing up with playful hints of bright colors (the Google standbys).” Other features are custom-created modular furniture; product grouping that presents, for example, Chromecast with Pixel, or Pixel with Daydream View; and a multi-screen display with dial control (dubbed the Portal), to show off, for example, Google Earth.


“We love it when people can come in, discover, play and have fun and it just happens to be with technology,” said Fischer. “So we’ve really tried to layer on lots of different immersive sorts of experiences, some that are direct demonstrations of the product and product features, but some that are more exploratory and fun.”

Google debuted its public events with an “ugly sweater holiday-themed DIY event hosted by TheSorryGirls.” The company also plans to bring in “YouTubers and others to run special workshops and sessions,” and full-time Google contractors, dubbed “Google Guides,” to run product tutorials, such as “How to plan holiday travel with Google Assistant.”

Earlier, Google opened three shops at Dixons U.K. retail stores, but because Dixons is focused on software and services, said Fischer, “the introduction of hardware prompted an even greater focus on showing how they can use everything together.”

“The great thing about this space is we can quickly update it when new products come out, we can also quickly remotely update all of the digital content, so we’ll also be creating new apps for the Portal area that are specific to this space,” said Fischer, who added there are no plans for retail stores in the U.S. “We’ll learn a lot from the people that we have coming to this shop and we really want to look at adapting the content to the audience.”

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