Tech companies grabbing retail space

Chip-maker Intel is renting retail space.

A pair of tech giants are renting commercial real estate in select cities for the holiday shopping season, according to Southern California Public Radio KPPC.

Google and chip-maker Intel are using pop-up stores to fuel brand interest. Google has launched six pop-up stores – called Winter Wonderlabs – where potential customers can check out new devices, such as the Chromebook or Nexus 7, and play interactive games.

The retail sector can be as much about brand awareness as sales, and the Winter Wonderlabs look to be following the blueprint left by Apple. In essence, the stores are about the experience of using those gadgets, and it's a prime way to show off Google's devices as potential gift material.

The Winter Wonderlabs showroom will feature a giant snow globe where you can use Google products to take a slow-motion video to send to your friends in the form of a high-tech holiday card.

Those six Google stores are based in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Sacramento, Calif.

Unusual move for Intel
The move to acquire retail space was a little more surprising from Intel, which, unlike Google, doesn't sell standalone products.
KPPC reported that most consumers don't buy products directly from Intel. Instead they purchase computers, laptops and tablets with Intel chips inside. 

Intel Vice President of Creative Services Kevin Sellers told KPPC the company isn't trying to take business away from retailers or hurt the business of makers of the laptops and tablets that include Intel technology.

"We really are just going to use these community pop-up environments to just put a different perspective, maybe a fresh experience around the innovation that's coming to market with the hopes that it stimulates demand,"  Sellers said.

Intel will open a trio of pop-up stores in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

"They're really trying to reach a new customer," Britt Beemer, a consumer and retail analyst and founder of America's Research Group, told KPPC. "They're going to hope that that consumer will go out and buy products and demand that Intel is part of it."

Despite the increased tech interest in pop-ups, Beemer said there will be fewer retail pop-up stores overall this holiday shopping season. The economy has gotten healthier and available space for pop-up stores to land has been harder to find in the commercial real estate sector.

"There were only half as many Halloween superstores this year as two or three years ago when there was so much vacant real estate space,"  Beemer said.  

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