Google will open retail showrooms this month featuring products such as Nexus 7 tablets, Chromebook computers, and Chromecast video-streaming devices. Consumers can walk into the locations and interact with the products, and then order the devices online.
The stores feature a large snow globe complete with snow, that allows customers to take pictures and videos of themselves with the products to share online. The business model supports a trend known as showrooming, where consumers visit a brick-and-mortar retail location, but use a smartphone to purchase the product online.
The Web site will also launch a gallery allowing those who visit the showrooms to view slow-motion videos while at the location. No doubt the feature will allow sharing as well.
The Google Winter Wonderlab will locate in six shopping centers across the country. The flagship locations will debut in Bryant Park's Winter Village, along with Westfield Malls Nov. 16, and will remain open through Nov. 24. The locations will pop-up in Topanga Plaza, Los Angeles; Fox Valley, Chicago; Roseville Galleria, Sacramento; Annapolis, DC; and Garden State Plaza, New Jersey.
Google hopes the ability for consumers to try products before they make a purchase will help boost sales. It's a trend supported by
manufacturers selling products in Europe.
More than one in three U.S. consumers have showroomed, according to comScore. About 76% of consumers say they sometimes or occasionally showroom, but in the past year consumers with smartphones have significantly increased the practice. In fact, just this year, showrooming grew from 41% in Q2 2013 to 49% in Q3 2013.
Mcommerce will reach its highest percentage ever of total digital sales -- between 12% and 13%, approaching $10 billion in spending for Q4 2013, per comScore.