Previously, if you wanted to buy a Raspberry Pi, you probably got it online from Amazon or an authorized Pi reseller, like Adafruit, but physical stores in which to buy them remained few and far between.
And the Raspberry Pi Foundation looks to be going a step further with its store and borrowing from Apple’s book, marketing it not only as a convenient place to buy gear (which it certainly is, along with books, mugs, teddy bears, and other exclusive merchandise), but for new customers to come and see what’s possible with Raspberry Pi devices.
It’s not just a pile of Raspberry Pis in boxes; there are computers set up so customers can demo things themselves. The whole retail store feels like the company is looking to branch out to a new audience, one that might stumble across the store in a mall and stick their heads in to see what the fuss is about and actually get a hands-on opportunity to see the potential of the platform. It’s the kind of mainstream audience that the company could expand to, instead of only relying on the traditional enthusiast customer that already has a pile of Pis on their desk.
Whether the store is successful will be interesting to see, given that there likely isn’t a huge profit margin on selling $35 computers. But if it can succeed in getting the Raspberry Pi name out to more customers, then it may not matter how well the individual store does. For now, there’s no word on plans for future locations, but if this first store does manage to be successful, it’s easy to see the company expanding the concept further in the future.