Originally Posted by hobBIT
I don't believe that for a second!
Even if they initially only want their stores to be 'showrooms', customers will eventually demand to be sold something. Who would want to enter a store and only look at things - if you actually intend to buy?
Trust me, it won't be long until they start selling things.
First it will be Microsoft software and hardware like mice and keyboards.
Then it will be favorite software or software Microsoft wants to showcase with Windows 7.
And finally third-party hardware.
Initially they might only sell it online inside the store, shipped to the client. But it won't be long before main configurations are sold in store. At least smaller hardware like phones, music players, netbooks and small laptops.
Otherwise what's the point of opening a retail store?
And I'm sure soon Microsoft will offer 'deal of the month' hardware items, deliberately targeted to counteract newly released Apple hardware where shoppers can play 'Lauren' and see how much they can save in the Microsoft store for 'the same hardware' as compared to the Apple Store next door.
I bet that this will happen.
It'll be interesting to see how Apple will react to that.
They might copy the 'Genius Bar' as well, and One-on-One training.
Benefits for Microsoft are twofold:
- more exposure and better profile
- a way to showcase the hardware products they want the industry to steer towards, either directly by making users buy certain products or indirectly by only showcasing products from hardware vendors who 'please' Microsoft.
Also consider that these new stores might be about selling digital content onto whatever hardware a customer brings in. Perhaps even iPods.
That's where Microsoft could indeed 'innovate'.
Imagine that within a Microsoft store you could try any software you like, be it Zune handheld software or PC software. It'll be downloaded straight from some MS servers on demand for customers to try.
Then if you like it you can order it via disk-on-demand burnt onto disk right there for you in store or you can buy it via download right there and then as well.
This could be the biggest AppStore ever!
And all software would be 'try before you buy'!
As I said, I can see some room for actual innovation.
Although I hope Apple will be there first.
All of the articles are just going by what MS itself has said; they won't be using these locations to sell, but rather to show.
Whether they change their minds over time, or even by the time they open is something we don't know.
The one thing that may prevent them from using these locations as normal stores would be the comparison between theirs and Apple's.
Apple's stores have one of, if not the, highest sell numbers per square foot of stores in any category. If MS sells in these stores, they will be compared directly to Apple's. Being that they want to locate as close to Apple's as they can, that would bring up interesting questions.
First amongst them would be why, in the same location, are Apple's stores doing so much better than MS's, and does that mean that MS's products, and those of the third parties they may also be selling are considered to be so much less valuable than Apple's?
That's a comparison that wouldn't be a good idea.
No matter what MS does, their products, and those of their partners, are sold in more locations than Apple's by a long shot. Therefor, there isn't any real reason to buy from one of MS's stores, unless prices are much better.
I can tell you from having had a company that sold some of its products through dealers, that you NEVER undercut your distributers and dealers. They get mad. Real mad. They even stop carrying your products. I never did that, but I know others who did. Not good. Even MS isn't immune from this.
So if MS can't offer discounts that are better, why would these stores sell at all?
Can you imagine how it would look if the Apple store across from it was packed, and the MS store just had stragglers? If they didn't sell anything, they could say that people were coming in for help, or guidance, and not too many people needed help or guidance as MS's products were so easy to use. Lame, I know, but excuses are always found if required. But if it were a regular store...
I don't see any point to this. It would be a lot better to have a couple of MS trained people in MS's dealers to help people. I think they said they were going to do that too.