It has been revealed that Google is nearing the opening of its first retail store in New York, following speculation that the search giant is to open a shop in Dublin.

It has been revealed that Google is nearing the opening of its first retail store in New York, following speculation that the search giant is to open a shop in Dublin.

If the stores are developed it is expected that Google will use them to showcase the much-anticipated Google Glass, which is due to be released this year.

While most retailers are grappling with the latest technology in order to integrate it into their business, Google is coming to the retail market with the technology already in place.

This, combined with the vast amount of consumer data which Google collects, could be a powerful combination as the company looks to venture into retail.

The retail industry has undergone a technological revolution in recent years. Indeed, 100 years ago, when technology was absent from the heart of retail, it was probably very easy to predict what the business landscape would look like in the near future.

Nowadays as technology evolves at light-speed, it would be naïve to try to predict what the retail industry will look like 10 years from today.

Just think: no one even 10 years ago would have thought that the technology we are experiencing today could be possible.

Indeed the film Minority Report, which was released in 2002, showcased technology which seemed unthinkable and improbably futuristic at the time. 

At this point the iPod wasn’t even a year old and the iPhone and iPad hadn’t even been conceptualised.

The film featured technology such as personalised advertising, iris recognition, 3D video and computer guided cars, yet the fact that the film was set in 2054 shows that the director, Stephen Spielberg, probably thought that it would be a very long time before this technology could become a reality and part of everyday life.

Innovators such as Google, however, have brought to life much of the technology that Minority Report predicted.

Using consumer data, Google can use predictive advertising to target consumers with relevant adverts based on their previous search history. What’s more, Google has also been involved in creating driverless cars. But how can Google use this to its advantage in the retail industry?

Google is the biggest data owner in the world. Through the vast amount of data it collates from people’s search histories, Google is able to predict consumer behaviours with a high degree of accuracy.

Channel this information into a retailer, along with advanced technology, and you have an extremely powerful retail proposition. In short, Google will be able to use the data it gains from search to engage with customers to sell them what they want.

Amazon is another innovator in this regard. The ecommerce market leader is currently the most advanced retailer when it comes to using data to guide its business development, and has shown the rest of the retail industry how to combine this consumer data with technology.

For example, the online giant plans to use predictive demand analytics where it will be able to forecast what its customers will order in certain locations.

However, there is a major difference between Amazon and Google: while Amazon has gathered all this data from customers who have actually bought goods through its web site, Google’s data is based on search.

The search giant therefore understands what peoples’ behaviours are and can use this information along with technology to predict consumer behavioural patterns.

If Google manages to overlay a retail proposition on top of this, it could be a very powerful retailer indeed. 

  • Dan Coen, director, Zolfo Cooper