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High-Tech Product Retailing Still Has A Brick-and-Mortar Presence

Apple's retail stores remain a popular destination for consumers to try out their products in a no-pressure setting.
While more consumers are buying high-tech items such as electronics and automobiles online, their suppliers maintain physical stores to help market their products.

For many people, ordering products such as electronics, household goods, and even clothing has become a point-and-click experience from a computer or smartphone, rather than schlepping to the nearby store or mall.  Many tech-savvy consumers compare product specs, features, and prices from online sites without the pressures of a store salesperson. That convenience, coupled with health concerns over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has endangered the survival of many brick-and-mortar stores. Increasingly, city planners are trying to figure out other uses for abandoned spaces in shopping malls.

But for some high-tech product retailers, there’s still some value in brick-and-mortar retailing, not so much for direct sales volume, but more from an informational and brand marketing perspective.

Meta, the originators of Facebook, said recently it would open a physical store in Burlingame, California, that would enable customers to try out its various metaverse products. The company is adamant that a physical store would aid its metaverse product development and marketing efforts.

For years, consumer electronics giant Apple has operated physical stores that are a showcase for its various products. Apple’s rival Samsung has a more limited number of “Experience” stores to demonstrate its technology. Major mobile phone vendors such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile continue to maintain brick-and-mortar locations. The innovative automotive company Tesla operates retail locations that enable customers to view its vehicles and ask questions.

Unfortunately, the king of online commerce, Amazon, has had mixed experiences with brick-and-mortar retailing. In March, Amazon said it would close 68 physical stores in the U.S. and U.K which sold books, electronic devices such as Kindles, and other popular products. However, Amazon maintains a brick-and-mortar retailing presence through its Amazon Go meals and snack outlets and its Amazon Fresh grocery stores. The company also plans to open a physical clothing store in Los Angeles.

The following gallery shows some examples of technology companies that have or will soon have a brick-and-mortar retail presence.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]

TAGS: Electronics
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