Intel is preparing to launch a series of their own branded stores across the nation. While details are sparse, Laptop Magazine and Intel’s own YouTube channel give us a pretty good idea of what we can expect to see from such a store. The real question of this happening is really, why?
There could be a series of reasons why Intel could be doing something like this. For one, it could be because they want a much tighter grip than they already have on the messaging for products that they enable with their chips, and another it could be because they want to consolidate their marketing activities to their own stores. While I don’t see how they would be doing this on a broad scale, it would certainly undermine their work within retail chains like Best Buy and Fry’s where they consistently train employees on their products and how to sell them. Intel spends millions of dollars on these efforts through their Retail Edge program and it would seem like a huge undermining of this program.
However, it could also be a signal that Intel is having trouble selling their products to consumers and that they want to be able to educate their customers more effectively. I do think that the Microsoft Store already does a pretty good job of this, but I can totally see why Intel would want to have their own retail stores even if they don’t actually make any consumer products other than SSDs. These stores would be similar to Qualcomm opening up a bunch of cellphone stores and then directly competing with all of the carriers’ stores, who sell the majority of their product. It just doesn’t seem right, so, I believe that Intel will spin this as an educational effort and not one that will try to actually sell any product.
Based on the above video, you can tell that they are claiming to have a more involved role in the surrounding community and are looking to support retail and etail in sales, but will still facilitate sales on site. Being able to make purchases in store will undermine much of what their brick and mortar partners make their money from. That includes the Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Fry’s to name a few.
I also believe that as Intel begins to become more present in spaces beyond the desktop and laptop, they are going to want to convey their messaging directly to consumers in just the right way. With Intel getting into smartphones and tablets, they are definitely going to want to try to create a powerful messaging tool, and it seems that Intel marketing believes that this is the way to do it. And frankly, it would be nice for Intel to really give consumers the proper gamut of products that they offer because in many cases, the retailers and OEMs tend to influence what gets shown on shelves way too much and keeps the best solutions out of consumers’ hands.