Google just opened up its first ever retail store. It’s in Chelsea in New York City at the base of its offices in a building that the company owns. The space is about 5,000 square feet and it occupies a full city block.
A collaboration with New York-architect, Suchi Reddy, the retail space is deliberately different from what you’ll find at an Apple store (though the broad intentions are arguably similar). Instead of sleek, metallic and futuristic, the focus here was on creating a warm and inviting space that feels more like a home. (Note the pale woods.)
The approach is intended to make a statement about the role that technology, or at least Google’s technology, should play in our lives. It is about tech servicing humanity and not the other way around.
FastCompany has a good article, here, that explains all of this.
It is interesting to watch these spaces evolve into what we are now calling experiential retail or commerce. If you read the FastCompany article you’ll read about the work that Johns Hopkins University is doing on neuroaesthetics, which is the study of how spaces and aesthetics affect our bodies. That is how finely tuned these spaces have become.
And it’s kind of what you need to do today. Consider the example of Microsoft’s retail stores, which launched in a clear attempt to mimic the successes that Apple has seen with its stores. They even looked somewhat similar. But then last year Microsoft announced that the company would be closing all of its stores.
Why? Part of the problem is that they were too focused on just selling Microsoft products. And that, it would seem, can’t really be the main objective anymore. You also need to consider the experience. What story are we telling about our brand with our space, and is it compelling enough to standout?
P.S. The first image at the top of this post is of their Google Translate booth. You walk in. Say something. And Google translates the hell out of it for you.