We have all seen the rapid growth over the last few months of mini in-stores by vendors like Samsung, Apple, Google, and now Microsoft inside Best-Buy. Why are vendors opening these mini in-stores, don’t they have enough shelf space? The problem is that the space for personal electronics and computers is very saturated, and companies need to create a new way to differentiate themselves from the pack where mega pixels and sizes are now all the same. Everyone is trying to copy the Apple store experience and even phone company stores are now almost identical to the modern and open experience in Apple stores. Apple is trying to stay ahead and be innovative while creating bigger glass stores with more floors and open space to consult, educate, and help its customers with the questions they may have about any of their products and services.
So, if companies like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and even Google are setting up these in-store experiences, why can’t social software vendors do the same, and should they? I think that the time is right, now more than ever, where social software companies in general can experiment with a physical mini-store or kiosk in order to reach new customers. Location will be the key, and vendors who can strike the right partnerships with companies like Apple and Microsoft would benefit the most. Maybe the right space for mini social in-stores will be within airports, but this is just a guess.
Having a physical social shop where customers can walk in and ask social media guru’s questions, get demos on the fly, test how the mobile apps work while grabbing espresso in a colorful dynamic place would be too cool to pass. The shops could have big comfy chairs where people are tweeting while waiting in line and checking the big screen demos running on the walls.
There is a reason why the big electronics and software companies are opening their own big and small stores, the question is if this model can work for software vendors as well.
So, let’s see who will create the first social software shop. What do you think?
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