Walk into most Best Buy stores in the US, and you'll usually find set-aside areas for each major mobile carrier, as well as areas to play with and purchase the latest and greatest from both Apple and Samsung. Best Buy shoppers in Canada will soon be able to visit similar mini-stores full of Google gear like Pixels, Chromecasts, and Daydream hardware, according to a press release from Best Buy. A small selection of Best Buy stores throughout the region, 14 of them to be exact, will be getting new Google-themed "Experience Stores", where consumers can check out what's new from Mountain View.
Much like the other "Experience Stores" that Best Buy shoppers can find themselves in, these Google Shops will be staffed by people specifically familiar with the Google products and ecosystem that they're selling. Users will be able to walk up and try Google hardware, with the initial lineup planned to consist of the two Pixel phones, along with the Daydream View headset once it debuts, as well as the 4K-packing Chromecast Ultra, once it hits retail. The plan is to start by opening up 10 small stores across Canada, then building out 4 larger, more comprehensive ones in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Mississauga later in the year.
Google's head of global retail design, Janell Fischer, spoke in glowing terms about the stores and the experience that customers can get by trying out Google's newest hardware and seeing how it can fit into their lives. Google's new Pixel phones mark the first time that they've put their own seal of approval on mobile hardware, and essentially necessitate Google getting a retail strategy in line for the unified hardware approach that they're pursuing with the help of Rick Osterloh. For now, nothing is set in stone as to whether there will be more Google Shops, when they could drop, or where they will end up, but it's only natural to assume that if this experiment with an initial lineup of stores goes well, Google will be getting Best Buy on board as a more permanent part of their long-term retail and consumer relations strategy.