Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface, opens another retail store in Corte Madera, California
In a press release Microsoft announced that since the first Microsoft store opened in 2009 more than 15 million customers has been served.
“We’ve welcomed more than 15 million customers and counting so far, and have learned a lot from them,” said Jonathan Adashek, general manager of Communications Strategy. “Having this direct connection to our customers has really helped us better understand their tech needs.”
Now more than 30 stores have opened, and the first international one in Toronto is opening on Friday, the 16th.
“This is the one place where you can see all of Microsoft’s offerings in one place, and that’s something that’s really important for us,” Adashek said. “Customers tell us they appreciate having direct access to Microsoft technology and face-to-face tech support. It’s a huge value for them.”
“The stores are a resource for the community and its technology needs,” he said. “We feel like we are on the right path and are highly motivated to expand our footprint and give more customers a chance to have the store experience.”
“We really want to have a direct relationship with customers. I think when you see people touch the Surface tablet or experience Windows 8 in person, a light goes off in their head,” general manager of Microsoft’s International and New Store Formats said. “In person, you get a very different experience and it’s one we’ve been very delighted to provide. When you see our technology in person – when you can touch and feel it – a light goes off.”
Microsoft retail stores have the opportunity to introduce customers to the company’s entire ecosystem, from Windows 8 PCs to Windows Phone 8 to Surface to Xbox with Kinect, and well-trained associates can show people how everything works together and how it can work for them, he said.
“Not every retail experience is created equal, and who better to talk about the products than the company that makes them,” Walter said. “We’re going to reinvent the kiosk experience.”
Giving customers hands-on time with products in a “world-class” retail experience is job one, said Microsoft retail Store Manager Ryan Scott, which is why associates train for months before going to work.
“We have people from so many different backgrounds – people who have never worked with technology in their life but they have hunger to do it, but they all share a great attitude and energy,” Scott said. “We feel that as long as they’re willing to learn about Microsoft specifically and technology in general you can definitely teach them that part.”
Microsoft retail Store Manager Ryan Scott said the advantage of Microsoft having its own stores was that the company could better control the experience – to make it “one of the most beautiful and captivating retail stores out there.”
“We have a big job to uphold the Microsoft brand and name. I take that very seriously,” Scott said. “From the second they walk in the store, whether they buy anything or not, I want them to have a world-class experience and walk out with that wow factor so when they think about Microsoft they think about incredible service, the best technology in the world, and they then want to share that with their friends and family.”
Kelly Soligon, Microsoft Store Director, Customer Segment Marketing said Microsoft has received great feedback from customers and community members for the way the company introduces itself to new cities. Consumers also appreciate the opportunity to spend time with Microsoft products in person, she said.
“People think they know what Microsoft does, but they haven’t seen us in a retail setting. We see people delighted and surprised by the depth and breadth of the products we offer – some people don’t know Xbox is made by Microsoft, so they start to make that connection,” she said. “You see people awakened to technology and what we do – the full Microsoft picture – and that we’re really genuine about the community connection.”
“Technology decisions for consumers can be expensive. The ability to come in and touch the products, use the products, see the great selection, we want people to feel really good about their purchase decision. It’s not a decision to make lightly,” she said. “Obviously we would love people to buy Microsoft technology from a Microsoft retail store, but at the end of the day if they have a great experience in the Microsoft store and end up buying a PC from Costco, that’s awesome too.”