For many people, ordering products such as electronics, household items and even clothing has become a point-and-click experience from a computer or smartphone, rather than going to the store or the mall. shopping nearby. Many tech-savvy consumers compare product specs, features, and prices on online sites without the pressure of an in-store salesperson. This convenience, coupled with health issues in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has endangered the survival of many brick-and-mortar stores. Increasingly, city planners are trying to find other uses for abandoned spaces in malls.
But for some high-tech retailers, there is still some value in brick-and-mortar retail, not so much for direct sales volume, but more from an information and brand marketing perspective.
Meta, the creators of Facebook, recently said it would open a physical store in Burlingame, California that would allow customers to try out its various Metaverse products. The company believes that a physical store would facilitate its metaverse product development and marketing efforts.
For years, consumer electronics giant Apple has operated physical stores that are a showcase for its various products. Apple’s rival Samsung has a more limited number of “Experience” stores to demo its technology. Major mobile phone providers such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile continue to maintain physical locations. Innovative automotive company Tesla operates retail outlets that allow customers to view its vehicles and ask questions.
Unfortunately, the king of e-commerce, Amazon, has had mixed experiences with physical retail. In March, Amazon announced it would close 68 brick-and-mortar stores in the US and UK that sold books, electronics such as Kindles and other popular products. However, Amazon maintains a brick-and-mortar retail presence through its Amazon Go meal and snack outlets and Amazon Fresh grocery stores. The company also plans to open a physical clothing store in Los Angeles.
The following gallery shows some examples of technology companies that have or will soon have a physical commercial presence.
Spencer Chin is editor of Design News and covers electronics beat. He has many years of experience in the development of components, semiconductors, subsystems, power and other facets of electronics, both from a business/supply chain perspective than technological. He can be reached at [email protected]