ComScore and others are making bold predictions about e-commerce sales over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. The projection is that e-commerce growth will outpace offline retail spending. That’s probably true (on a percentage basis) but the online numbers will be a small fraction of offline, in-store spending — more than 10:1 in favor of local.
The selling power of local retail stores has been affirmed again and again by Apple and plenty of others. Google at points has flirted with offline stores, including its store-within-a-store presence at Best Buy.
The Winter Wonderlab pop-up stores effort is the latest move in what may be an inevitable march toward a more sustained, offline retail strategy for big G.
If Google really hopes to sell Nexus tablets, bring Google Glass into the mainstream — which in its current form is not possible — and sell forthcoming Android-based smart watches it’s going to need to push into offline retail more aggressively than it has to date.
While Nexus 5 devices sell out online from Google Play that e-commerce only approach is not going to cut it for mainstream consumers. They need to touch and see products in order to get excited and gain confidence in them.
In addition, with some more visible retail strategy or its own stores (even stands in shopping malls), Google could also boost Motorola’s fortunes considerably.
For all these reasons in 2014 we may finally see something like the arrival of a “Google Store.”