In what has been relatively quiet coverage, Google opened a small, 285-square foot “store within a store” across the pond on September 30th. Dubbed the Chrome Zone, the small marketing spot is being used to promote Google’s Chromebooks. The first store opened inside a Curry’s and PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road. A second location is to open this Friday at the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex. 25 additional stores are planned around the world according to Brian Roemmele discussing the topic on Quora.
These pictures come from the Quora thread.
The vibe in the stores is a mix of Apple Store meets Virgin Atlantic. The store features unique counters where consumers can sit on one side while the other side is height adjusted for standing. The design creates a maximization of the very small retail footprint. This is being called a “Holiday Test” the company that may very well end after the holidays if there is not enough interest by consumers.
There is a small array of products that one would expect to find along with the featured Samsung Chromebook, selling for £349 for the wi-fi only version. The £399 version has both wi-fi and 3G.
Thus far (just a few hours open) Chrome Zone is starting to get massive lines and quite a bit of interest. There is early talk about some “surprises” that they may have in the next few weeks at these new Retail locations.
Chrome Zone also features the new Google Wallet using NFC technology for payment POS. There is talk that discounts will be offered if the consumer completes the transaction using the Google Wallet.
Chrome Zones are also open in airports to allow you to test out the Chromebook in the airport or on your flight according to this Google Chromebook Feature page.
Enjoy browsing on a Chromebook at select Virgin America flights and airports.
- Check out a Chromebook at your gate.
- Enjoy it with free Wi-Fi in terminal and on your flight.
- Simply return it to the Chrome staff at your destination gate.
The airport Chrome Zones are open now through this holiday season (January 15).
Will the Chrome Zones just be an experiment or a hotspot for the holiday season? Google could sell Chromebooks, Android phones, and other accessories but would it be profitable?