Motorola to open 'experimental boutique' retail experience store in Chicago

Lenovo's Motorola Mobility unit is opening up an "experimental boutique" retail store in downtown Chicago, not far from its headquarters there. The launch could give some luster to Motorola's brand and is a reminder that even though it is cutting jobs in Chicago, it still is based in the Windy City. The rollout also reflects a growing trend among technology companies to open their own retail outlets in large cities.

The store will feature a Drop Zone where visitors can drop the new Droid Turbo 2 onto slabs of concrete, ceramic and tile. (Source: Motorola)

On Saturday, Nov. 7, Motorola will unveil the Moto Shop, giving customers the option to look at the company's smartphones and smart watches in person. The company said the store will provide "a hands-on, interactive environment with dedicated areas that bring to life our marquee products and device features." The store will have its official grand opening celebration on Nov. 14.

Motorola's Moto Maker tool, which lets customers customize the look and feel of their devices online before they buy a phone, will be transformed from an online design studio to "a mini workshop where you can get hands-on with genuine leathers, real woods and a broad-ranging color palette to build a custom Moto X Pure Edition."

For smart watch aficionados, the company said the Moto 360 boutique will offer personalized smart watch shopping and nearly all of Moto Maker customization options will be on display for customers to build their own watch.

The shop will also let customers "put the world's first shatterproof phone to the test in the Drop Zone," the firm said, and shoppers can see the company's "ShatterShield" screen technology in action as they drop the new Droid Turbo 2 phone onto slabs of concrete, ceramic and tile.

For Motorola, the store is not just a product showcase but also indicates that it remains committed to its presence in Chicago. In August Motorola said it would cut 500 jobs at its Chicago headquarters, or 25 percent of its Chicago-based workforce, as part of a broader restructuring and layoffs at Lenovo. Before the cuts, the Chicago office, with a little under 2,000 employees, was Motorola Mobility's largest facility by headcount, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Meanwhile, other companies are opening their own retail "Experience" stores. Late last month Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) opened a massive new flagship retail store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) yesterday opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar retail bookstore in the University Village area of Seattle. And Google reportedly abandoned plans to open its first-ever retail store in Manhattan, according to Crain's New York Business.

For more:
- see this Motorola blog post
- see this Droid-Life article 
- see this PhoneScoop article 

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