Raspberry Pi Opens its First Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store

Raspberry Pi is a very low cost, open hardware, Linux computer the size of a credit card that plugs into a monitor and you can get started. It also uses a regular keyboard and mouse. It was created mainly for educational purposes, to help people of low resources and all ages to learn to code and improve programming skills in Scratch and Python languages.

Raspberry Pi computers are slower than a modern laptop or desktop computer. They have very little RAM. However, they can do everything you would expect from desktops and laptops. It can play high-definition video, word processing, playing games, and more.

Because of the convenient small size and low price (around $35), these computers have been very popular with tinkerers, creators, and technology enthusiast who already have an interest in programming and using code to create prototypes for new technology.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK based charity and the driving force behind Raspberry Pi in the efforts putting technology in the hands of people all over the world to teach them skills like coding, programming, and digital marketing.

Their vision is making low-cost computers available for everyone.

In what it looks like an effort to branch out to more audiences and be even closer to the people, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store in Cambridge, UK, where it is based.

By reaching out to people who are not tech-savvy and demonstrating what these computers can do, these less connected consumers might get a spark of interest. This is where the education and support provided by the Foundation comes in, making sure even the less tech-savvy individuals have access to resources and education in coding and programming.

The new Raspberry Pi brick-and-mortar store

To purchase a Raspberry Pi, you previously had to go through authorized resellers; whether online or brick-and-mortar. Since this is the first and only Raspberry Pi store, chances are you will still have to purchase yours through authorized retailers, unless you live in Cambridge. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has not expressed intentions to continue to open brick-and-mortar stores.

Physically, the store looks a lot like an Apple or a Microsoft store. It is more of a showroom than a store where you go exclusively to purchase an item. The store has computers set up to demonstrate the capabilities of computers and specific projects. The store is also staffed by knowledgeable salespeople who, much like the Apple Geniuses, can guide you and even support with the products.

Why open only one store? This can be interpreted as an awareness move from the Foundation. The store sells boxes of all of the Raspberry Pi computer models; it also sells add-ons and extras, instructional books and everything else you need to get started, as you would expect. You will also find a variety of branded merchandise such as mugs, teddy bears, and more.

As we mentioned, the store is more of a showroom than a retail store. It was thought out so that users could experience the products. The store has six demonstration booths, each with a different project for customers to experiment with: Using Scratch language to light up an LED.

-       Hands-on coding, by using Python to control an LED

-       Using Python to control sensors and making your home smarter,

-       Using cameras and sensors and building an arcade machine with a Picade console running PICO-8.

-       And building a multimedia center with Kodi and Raspberry PI.

Along with the opening of the store, the company introduced a Raspberry Pi Kit, as they call it, which comprises a Model 3B+ and an instructional book with detailing how to get started in the world of coding. It is all consumers need to get started. The CEO of the company, Eben Upton, assured that the opening of a retail store and introduction of the kit is an important step in achieving awareness and adoption of the product.

CEO Eben Upton also stated he believes the store will be a destination for members of their very active and engaged Raspberry Pi fan community.

Raspberry Pi is not the first internet company to open brick-and-mortar stores. Remember when it was predicted that, with the rise of e-commerce, physical stores and malls as we knew they would disappear? The exact opposite has been a trend for the last few years in which internet-based companies that previously provided a product which then they shipped to you are now opening elaborate brick-and-mortar stores to provide consumers with a complete shopping experience, thus, adding value.

The new Raspberry Pi store is an excellent example of a store creating an experience through interactive demos and adding value to consumers. It is also an excellent vehicle for the Raspberry Pi Foundation to create awareness and outreach in the community.

Will this store be profitable?

By now, you might be wondering how a store is going to make a profit by selling $35 computers and branded mugs. The answer is: it probably isn’t. That is also very likely why there won’t be very many of these stores, if any more. Turning a profit on this specific location is not the goal for the store.

First Brick-and-Mortar 

The Director of Software Engineering at Raspberry Pi, Gordon Hollingworth, said the whole point of this store is to simply put more people into contact with the products and ecosystem as well as having them try and demo products to experience what they are capable of. Simply put, the main goal of this store is awareness. Any profit this store produces will be icing on the cake.

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