Daily Dose of iQ: Openspace Begins Selling Apps in a Physical Store

Dec 14, 2011 — Anne Forkutza

Apps are confined to your browser or to your mobile devices, so why would anyone try to sell apps in a brick-and-mortar store? You simply download them from the app store and that's it, right?

Well, not exactly. As Rip Emerson of TechCrunch.com reports, Openspace (an online app store and developers' cooperative based in Boulder, Colo.) is looking to subvert this logic and peddle apps in a physical store.

Openspace's co-founder and CEO, Robert Reich (see above photo), and his team opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Boulder this week and plan to open similar stores in San Francisco and New York.

“(Reich and his team are) offering an app store that enables you to discover and purchase an application once and use it anywhere, anytime, on any device –- smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, Mac or PC,” Emerson writes.

It's really interesting that items that used to just exist within the online space (such as apps) are now popping up in the real physical world to expand their reach. We've covered this in previous articles (see Androidland) other examples include Google's Chromezone and Amazon Lockers. eBay even opened a pop-up physical store in London earlier this month. The lines between the virtual and physical spaces are blurring now more than ever. 

Is there potential in this space (selling mobile apps in-store)? How can wireless retailers generate an ROI on the cost of starting to sell apps in-store?

I think the real ROI is enhancing the in-store customer experience. With online competition heating up, there needs to be more of an emphasis on delivering a great customer experience in-store.  

There is definitely a tremendous opportunity in terms of profit sharing when it comes to selling apps in-store. From a customer's perspective, it just offers that added convenience of downloading apps once the customer buys a phone. From a retailer's perspective, allowing customers to buy apps in-store gives them a reason to return to the store and browse popular, recommended and curated apps, versus the current information-overload experience they receive any Apple/Android/Windows/Blackberry appstore online. 

What is the iQmetrix and XQ vision for this area?

Currently we are prototyping several concepts that will allow retailers to offer engaging experiences to their customers when it comes to browsing and purchasing apps and a variety of other virtual goods in-store. Why make customers go to an actual physical app store, when XQ can turn any store into an "appstore"? Exciting times to come!

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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