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First Physical Google Store Opening In NYC This Summer

‘The new Google Store is an important next step in our hardware journey of providing the most helpful experience of Google, wherever and whenever people need it,’ says Jason Rosenthal, Google’s vice president of direct channels and membership.

Google is dipping its toes into the physical retail world with a forthcoming brick-and-mortar store in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City’s West Side as part of its campus there.

The new Google Store, slated to open this summer, will sell Google products including its Pixel phones, Nest and Fitbit devices and Pixelbooks. Customers also will be able to shop online at GoogleStore.com and pick up their orders at the store.

“The new Google Store is an important next step in our hardware journey of providing the most helpful experience of Google, wherever and whenever people need it,” Jason Rosenthal, Google’s vice president of direct channels and membership, said in a blog post announcing the new store today.

The store also will provide immersive ways for customers to experience how Google’s products and services work together, according to the technology company, which said it would share more information once the store opens.

“We’ll have experts on hand to help visitors get the most out of their device, such as troubleshooting an issue, fixing a cracked Pixel screen or helping with installations,” Rosenthal said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a longtime Pixel user, are curious about our Nest displays or want to participate in one of the how-to workshops we’ll offer throughout the year, our team will be able to provide you with help that’s specific and personalized to your needs.”

Google has designed the store with health and safety precautions in mind due to the coronavirus pandemic and for the future, according to Rosenthal.

“Our expectations of how we shop have changed significantly and forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Many customers still want to experience hardware before they buy it -- and learn what it feels like, sounds like and looks like in their hand or on a desk. But in-store shopping might look a bit different than what customers are used to, and that’s okay.”

The Google Store, which will be cleaned multiple times per day, according to Google, will require masks, hand sanitation and social distancing. Google also will limit the number of guests allowed inside and provide easy order-pickup options.

Google’s Chelsea campus is home to many of its 11,000-plus New York City employees.

“Google has been in New York for the last 20 years, and we view the store as a natural extension of our longtime commitment to the city,” Rosenthal said. “We look forward to meeting many of our customers and hearing their feedback on the store, so we can continue to explore and experiment with the possibilities of a physical retail space and build upon the experience.”

Google’s entrance into physical retail stores follows a rather disastrous ending for much of rival Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar retail experience.

Microsoft announced last June that it would close all 83 of its Microsoft Stores under a “strategic change” and take a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million. The company, at the time, said its hardware and software sales were continuing to shift online as its product portfolio evolved to digital products including Microsoft 365, gaming and entertainment.

That decision came nearly 11 years after the Redmond, Wash.-based company opened its first retail store in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2009 in an attempt to better compete against Apple and its popular retail stores. The majority of Microsoft’s retail store locations were in the United States, with nine in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Amazon, meanwhile, operates a string of different retail stores selling items including curated selections of books, Amazon devices, toys, home goods, prepared food and groceries. They include Amazon Books (24 locations), Amazon 4-Star (30 locations with two coming soon), Amazon Fresh (12 locations), Amazon Pop Up (seven locations), Amazon Go (22 locations) and Amazon Go Grocery (two locations), according to its website. Amazon is also the parent company of supermarket chain Whole Foods.

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