Nokia plans to close Chicago and New York retail stores, and why it’s not a surprise

Thu, Dec 10, 2009


Just days after Nokia decided to close down its high-end retail shop on Regent Street in London comes news that Nokia stores in New York and Chicago will also be closing up shop in early 2010.

Nokia’s attempt to emulate Apple’s retail success began in 2006, and despite attempts to drape the stores with translucent walls and a club like setting, the stores were never popular with customers and ultimately failed to generate significant sales.

Having been to the Nokia store in Chicago, which is actually right down the street from the Apple Store on the Magnificent Mile, I can attest that the store aesthetic was more of a distraction than anything else.  I mean, you walked into the store and saw neon blue lighting and heard house music.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be looking at merchandise or at some avant-garde nightclub with an ironic Nokia-themed twist.  Moreover, the actual layout of the store was anything but user friendly.  As opposed to Apple Stores, which are typically welcoming and warm, Nokia’s retail stores, or at least the Chicago location, seemed cold and uninviting, with what seemed like hundreds of phones lining the walls like sardines.  That being the case, even if the Nokia store dive a warm and inviting vibe, the thoughtless layout of the products were more prone to cause customer confusion than anything else.

As we noted yesterday, Nokia’s retail initiative was completely backwards.  Nokia tried to use a ‘hip’ and ‘fresh’ store design to push products out the door.  Apple, in contrast, uses ‘hip’ and ‘fresh’ products to make their retail stores a success.

You can check out Nokia’s press release on the store closings after the break.

“In North America, over 90 percent of consumer purchases are made through carriers – Nokia continues to support our relationship with carriers in this market, as well as the continued expansion of our retail partner network with the likes of Amazon and Best Buy (for example), in line with our strategy. As we continue to expand our services and solutions offerings across these various channels, we have decided to close the NY and Chicago stores to allow more concentration on our other channels.

The Flagship stores were originally conceived to inspire and educate consumers to the benefits of mobility through an innovative retail experience, and to broaden the appeal of the Nokia brand. Since opening the stores in NY and Chicago (2006), consumer awareness in the U.S. has grown substantially. Weighing those dynamics with Nokia’s clear strategy in North America, and our well-established retail channel with third parties, we will close these two stores (New York and Chicago) in early 2010.

This decision was made to create clear alignment with our local market strategy and, in addition, as part of a global realignment of our retail strategy in overall.”



3 Comments For This Post

  1. Constable Odo Says:

    It must be very frightening for the average consumer to see fifty cellphones from a company lined up on a wall all with different shapes and features. Anything over five choices would be annoying to me. That’s why I like Apple’s iPhone strategy. They all look the same and basically have the same features except for different memory sizes. Nokia needs to slice the number of models and lose all that extra inventory. Nokia treats cellphones like fashion accessories. A cellphone model to go with any outfit and color you’re wearing. No thanks.

  2. AlfieJr Says:

    The difference could not be more obvious:

    Apple iPhone: two models, two colors/one style, two sizes, one OS (and iTunes) for all. as simple for consumers as possible.

    Nokia: umpteen models, myriad colors/styles, dozens of sizes, several OS’s (no unifying desktop). as confusing as possible.

    Nokia is the next Sony.

  3. Mark Says:

    I shopped the Nokia store every time I was in Chicago. I’ve bought my phones and accessories there and had service work done. I will miss them. I loved the stores.

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