Why on Earth was I at a Best Buy store at 8am on Friday morning? Well it wasn’t Black Friday. It was actually a bigger deal than that.
Google is expanding into retail with its growing collection of high tech hardware, and the company has chosen to partner with Best Buy, using a store-within-a-store concept. To launch this Google Shop for North America, the Best Buy at Mississauga’s Heartland Town Centre was chosen to be the first location.
I was at the store to watch the Best Buy Canada team and Janelle Fischer, Google’s Global Head of Retail Design cut the ribbon and officially launch the Google Shop Within Best Buy. Here’s a shot of the ribbon cutting ceremony, with Janelle Fischer.
But you probably don’t care about that. If you’re like me, it’s what lies beyond that red ribbon that’s really interesting. Trust me, if you get a chance to check out the Google Shop, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a look (prior to the the post ribbon-cutting rush when things got considerably more crowded).
Ms. Fischer explained that in planning the Google Shop with Best Buy, the company put the same focus on user experience that it does when designing its products. And it shows. The Google Shop is truly a store-within-a-store, with a clearly defined area. The look is warm and inviting, with plenty of light wood surfaces and even comfortable seating areas. And spread throughout the Google Shop are all the latest and greatest Google gadgets.
The cool thing is, you don’t just see them in a box, you can pick them up and try them out. Google-trained staff are on hand to explain everything and walk you through it. You can play around with a Pixel Phone if you like, or you can ask someone to show you why you might want to consider it over an alternative option. You can actually try on a Daydream View VR headset to experience virtual reality first hand—it’s much different than merely watching a video of someone else trying VR.
There is also plenty of eye candy on display. The two focal points are a wall made out of connected Google Pixel Phone smartphones and a massive wall of screens controlled by a tablet. You can interact with the wall, and during the time I was at the Google Shop it was primarily being used for a very impressive Google Earth display, zooming from planet scale down into Mississauga.
If you’re considering Google products or you’re just curious about them, it’s well worth a visit to the Google Shop at Best Buy Canada. All the gear you’ve read about, heard about or watched on videos is there and available to try out firsthand. There are experts right there to help you with any questions. And there are some pretty cool sights to be seen, including that wall of Pixel Phones.
If you live in the Toronto area, the newly launched Google Shop is easy to reach at Best Buy in the Heartland Town Centre. There were also Google Shops launched in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.