Having a first-party, branded store is all the rage these days. Apple's doing it and Samsung is doing it, but is Google about to get into the retail game Down Under? Recent job postings suggest that it might be thinking about it.
The role, posted a few days ago, is for a new position as Manager of Store Operations in Australia.
To qualify for the role, you'll need five years worth of experience in both retail systems and vendor management experience, as well as and MBA, a background in store operations, new format retail and customer communications among other things.
The day-to-day responsibilities would see the successful applicant:
• Manage the day-to-day store operations for Google’s in-country retail presence. Ensure the successful implementation and on-going management of all customer programs, customer experience roll-outs and new products and services. • Ensure that consumer insights are collected and elevated to the regional and corporate teams in actionable formats to drive the business forward, in conjunction with third party providers. • Take responsibility for the vendor management of third party resources to deliver upon SLAs and terms of contracts. • Help build a portfolio of high-performing doors that consistently meet standards for merchandising, compliance and other key performance metrics that drive growth, an enhanced customer experience as well deep customer loyalty of the Google Hardware Portfolio (Android, Nexus and future platform of devices).
While the role would see someone manage existing retailer relationships for smartphones and other Google gadgets, it isn't a stretch to imagine that Google could open its own first-party retail store in the next 12 months with candidates like this. Especially considering that this is the second such role that Google has hired for in the last month.
Google's a search company first and a web giant second. At a distant third, it's a consumer electronics company. So if Google did open a store in Australia, what would it sell?
Well, Google recently launched its Chromecast streaming dongle in Australia, and the Chromebook laptop line-up is consistently being updated. Google also sells Nexus phones, Nexus tablets and accessories in Australia too. Google is also piloting Glass experience stores in the US for people to try out the company's new face-computers. All in all, that's more than enough to open even a small store.
Australia is a prominent market for tech giants these days, with Google, Apple and Samsung all upgrading our humble island to launch-market status for major new smartphones, tablets and laptops. It makes sense that the company would want to take advantage of the rabid consumer appetite in Australia.
Of course, the real story may be smaller than we anticipate.
In the US, Google doesn't operate a store model, rather it works with retailers to set up kiosk-style booths within stores like Best Buy with a Google staffer there to help customers with their purchases. The branded stand model is very popular amongst Google's local competitors, with Samsung and Apple both commanding exclusive floor space within retailers for their wares. Google currently sells gadgets and laptops through Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi in Australia, but it's one of the only companies without a bespoke stand to call its own.
Perhaps the role would call for someone to set up said store booth rather than a bespoke retail store just for Google products?
We've reached out to Google Australia for comment.
Update: A Google Australia spokesperson got in touch with Gizmodo to share this brief comment: "There are currently no plans for a Google Store in Australia." Pity.
Would you shop at a Google-owned store? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.