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Brief Published: 16 Nov 2018

Google Hardware Pop-Ups School Consumers in New Tech

Google's Hardware Store

Google has launched two ‘Hardware Stores’ in Chicago and New York. These lifestyle-centric pop-up spaces frame its latest smart tech as tools equipping consumers to tackle modern life. Central to the concept are interactive vignettes, devised to acclimatise shoppers to its AI-powered voice-command devices.

The pop-ups aim to lure shoppers with the chance to explore Google’s laptops, smart assistants and phones. There’s an emphasis on breadth of use, with products divided into work, life and home sections. 

For context, customisable home-style vignettes showcase Google’s computing prowess. Inside a miniature treehouse, visitors talk to its smart speaker Google Home to open blinds, play music and control lights. They can also have their photo taken on a swing, which demonstrates how Google’s Pixel phone uses artificial intelligence to select the sharpest image from a series of shots. Similarly, they can also populate digital frames with images from their phone’s photo library (the tech seamlessly syncs devices), or scan album covers with their phone to play music. 

Witty design elements further humanise the technology, which can potentially seem alien. Product blueprints are tucked beneath displays, while tongue-in-cheek takeaway cards offer step-by-step solutions for using the devices to solve problems like post-vacation blues (“how to come home from Hawaii in style”) or finding the perfect shoes (“how to bite your friend’s style”). This spotlights how deeply Google is gunning to embed itself into people’s daily routines – see also Marketing Mundanity.

Each of the three sections is accompanied by self-steered digital product tutorials dubbed ‘toolboxes’. This affirms the role of the store as a seductive, try-before-you-buy experience, which consumers indulge in largely unaided – a tactic detailed in Soft Sell: The New Retail. All items are stocked in-store, ready to take home.

Both stores will be open until December 31. See also Selling Technology