If you haven't been noticing, Microsoft has been opening up a bunch of Microsoft Stores around the country and even internationally. With over 50 locations in 3 countries, the software giant has solidified itself as the new, cool, hip company where you can walk in and play with their latest gadgets. Now, Microsoft is looking to expand even more directly into Apple territory by opening up what they are calling the Windows Store, which will be featured exclusively at Best Buy, at least here in the states.
Going with the store-within-a-store approach, 500 Best Buy locations throughout the US will host the Windows Store, and 100 Best Buy and Future Shop stores will play host to the Windows Store in Canada. Microsoft says the footprint will range anywhere from 1,500 to 2,200 square feet and will serve as a prime location for customers to put their hands on products and accessories, from Windows tablets, PCs and versions of Microsoft Office to Windows Phones and new Xbox products. If you're thinking, "why Best Buy?" you probably haven't been keeping up with the fact that the yellow tag store has decided to shrink its aisle-space for DVDs, leaving much room for Microsoft to step in.
Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft, spoke in confidence of the company's plans with this mini-store mentality outside of their routine big shopping malls up to now.
Well, unlike a lot of store-within-a-store concepts, this will actually be a department-level takeover within Best Buy stores. And they will be massive in size, up to 2,200 square feet in some locations. The other unique thing about the Windows Store is the people. There will be an additional 1,200 staff on hand to provide a great customer experience, whether it's choosing the right PC or showing consumers how to stream Xbox music through their Surface. Finally, the online experience should be fantastic. We'll have a full online Windows Store experience that will mirror the in-store look-and-feel and offer a full range of Microsoft products, even those from other places in the Best Buy store.
And on the differences of the Windows Store at Best Buy versus the Microsoft Stores in the malls, Capossela said that this is just another outreach with the same expectations as a Microsoft Store.
Well, first of all, we're committed to our Microsoft Stores. With 68 stores open in North America, we're seeing great success in our growing network. The Windows Store at Best Buy is really just another great opportunity to reach customers in more places and give them choice in their technology-buying experience. We've taken learnings from the Microsoft Store into the Windows Store at Best Buy, and we ultimately feel this is another great channel to offer a superior experience for the millions of customers who rely on Best Buy to purchase their PCs.
Regardless of my feelings of Best Buy at times, it is nice to see Microsoft finally having more places to show off all of the highlights from each and every product line the company has to offer. Sometimes, as Microsoft has seen, the third-party manufacturers don't do the best of jobs at getting their message across about Windows products. Now, Microsoft can continue to control the exact message they're trying to relay. Stores will be launching this summer and locations have not been disclosed yet.