Google: Something New From Something Old

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Sometimes the most modern of retailers surprise the shopper with an approach that looks almost old-fashioned. Google has to be in tech’s vanguard and with this in mind you might be forgiven for expecting any physical store that it opens to be a bells and widgets affair.

Yet two pop-ups, open for about a fortnight in Chicago and New York, show that Google has an eye on the past as much as the future. Both are called ‘The Hardware Store’ and externally they are supposed to mimic an ironmongery store of the kind that used to be around before the arrival of the edge-of-town DIY giants.

Step inside however and these are stores that are concerned with the other meaning of ‘hardware’, being bits of kit that would generally be termed hi-tech, from phones to ‘digital assistants’. The idea of the old-fashioned shop is maintained however with everything from a wood cabin, dubbed the ‘treehouse’, to staff clad in aprons of the sort that every DIY store visitor will be familiar with.

There is a lot to be said for making the shopper feel at home with things that may be challenging and the Hardware Store(s) make this possible.