DJI, the world's best-known drone maker, has opened its first store. The 800-square-meter flagship, located in the Chinese city of Shenzen, boasts a theater, a lounge, a repair counter, and a flight area, and — thankfully — looks markedly better than the renders we saw last month. The finished store resides inside a lumpy glass-covered building that the designer says is based on the concept of the circle, inspired by the drone's blades, and features open spaces that allow the company to show off its range of aerial vehicles, both on the ground and in the air.
There's space to fly DJI's drones, but people who make the trip to the store won't be able to take the controls. Instead, the company is using its own pilots to perform demonstrations throughout the day, presumably to prevent some first-time drone user from giving another customer an unexpected haircut with a low-flying Phantom. Instead, visitors will have to make do with an interactive installation that shows photos and videos captured by other drone users.
If those visitors do decide to make a purchase, the Chinese company's only retail location has the Inspire 1, Matrice 100, Guidance, and Spreading Wings series drones on hand, in addition to the well-known Phantom 3 series. It's also selling the Ronin camera mount and DJI's newest 4K camera, the Osmo. Each drone looks to be served up by staff who seem to have taken their sartorial cues from Apple Store workers, switching out Apple's blue T-shirts and lanyards for gray T-shirts and lanyards.
Despite the Apple comparison, DJI says it may open a few more stores, but that it doesn't have any future plans for major expansion. But while retail locations aren't to be a centerpiece of the company's business plans, as the world's first billion-dollar drone company, DJI can afford to spend a little to make itself look good.