A lot has been written about Google’s experiments in retail – the barges, the pop-ups, the NYC flagship. One might think that the reason the technology giant hasn’t moved into the physical realm yet – is that Google (as of a few months ago – Alphabet Inc.) doesn’t want to be a follower. Well… here is how it wouldn’t have to.
Introduced throughout the key American cities, targeting both tourists and locals, the slim stick-like constructions with vandal-proof voice-operated tablets fixed at eye level would be placed in popular public spaces – squares, parks etc.
Linked to the Internet via Wi-Fi, the system would use AI to answer questions and offer tips on a variety of subjects – from general interest news to restaurant bookings. The system would also allow users to place free Wi-Fi calls and charge their own devices (once the technology is efficient enough – wirelessly).
Alphabet Trees would provide a social service, make Internet available to everyone and introduce company-manufactured devices, technologies and services to new audiences.
Alphabet stores (previously referred to as a Google stores) would be expected to offer a fundamentally new approach to retail; fortunately, the company has everything required to pull it off.
Instead of following the traditional separation of products into categories within a retail environment, the space could benefit from the breadth of what Alphabet has to offer and make the stores look like smart houses, where all devices are mixed and interlinked into a smart system users could test either as guests or by plugging their own devices into it.
Many helpful and exciting details could be introduced, as visitors move from one room to another, but above all – the space would not be about distinctive visual aesthetics, but rather a distinctive and efficient experience.
P.S. A few words on venturing out (Alpha Hotels)
As the easiest way to persuade someone to buy a product is to demonstrate how effortlessly it can change lives for the better, it would seem practical for Alphabet to (either in addition or as an alternative to stores), get into a partnership with a hotel chain of compatible values and transform some of their flagship locations into smart developments. These would expose Nest and mobile devices as well as software applications and AI technology to millions of new consumers in perfectly controlled environments, allowing for plenty of memorable (and social-media friendly) moments of emotional interruption.