Google said that it would open a retail store location in New York City where fans can buy Pixel phones, Nest products, Fitbit devices, and more.
“Today, we’re announcing our plans to open Google’s first-ever physical retail store, in one of the greatest cities in the world: New York,” Google’s Jason Rosenthal writes. “The new Google Store in Chelsea will be a space where customers can experience our hardware and services in a helpful way. We’ll be opening our doors to the public in summer 2021.”
Google’s entry into retail stores was unexpected. And it comes less than a year after Microsoft announced that its own retail stores, which were at the time closed because of the pandemic, would shut down for good. But Apple has obviously had tremendous success with its own retail stores, and even Amazon, which spent its first few decades killing off retail competition, has opened a variety of retail locations and purchased Whole Foods.
The new Google Store appears to follow the Apple model. It will sell Google-, Nest-, and Fitbit-branded products, of course. It will let website shoppers pick up their orders at the store. And there will be product experts on hand to troubleshoot issues, fix broken devices, and answer questions.
And because we’re still dealing with the pandemic, Google will require masks, hand sanitation, and social distancing, at least for now.
“We’ll clean all spaces multiple times a day,” Rosenthal says of its COVID plans. “The number of guests inside will be limited to ensure our customers feel safe during their shopping experience, and easy pickup options will also be available. We will continue to closely follow the guidance of the local and national authorities to adapt our health and safety procedures as needed.”
The coming Google Store is part of an existing Google campus in the neighborhood that has 11,000 employees, and Google says it sees the retail space as a natural expansion of its commitment to the city.