Microsoft has confirmed a new partnership with Best Buy, which will the opening of smaller Microsoft Mini Stores in the chain’s branches all over the country. Set to kick-off before the end of June, the project will see Microsoft adopt the “store within a store” approach for pushing its products at upwards of 500 Best Buy outlets across the US, along with a further 100 units in Canada.
These Mini Microsoft Stores will range between 1500 and 2200 square feet and are designed to allow consumers to get up close and personal with the firm’s hardware and software lines. Up for inspection will be a variety of Smartphones running Windows Phone operating systems, Xbox games consoles and of course, the company’s struggling Surface Tablet PC range.
“We will have a great Windows tablet table inside the Best Buy Tablet Department, Windows Phones in their Phone Department, and lots of space for Xbox in their Gaming and Home Theater Departments,” read a recent blog post from Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Chris Capossela.
“Retail is a priority, and this partnership with Best Buy is a prime example of our commitment to the customer experience in evaluating, experiencing and enjoying Microsoft devices, and the software and services that connect them.”
The project also includes the launch of a new Windows-focused area on the Best buy website.
Capossela went on to state that the reason Best buy was chosen is the chain’s position as the biggest PC retailer in the industry today. He also stated that having the brand’s products on offer in more locations was key in getting the likes of the Surface Pro tablet and the latest range of Windows 8 PCs into the hands of consumers.
As it stands, there are only 68 official Microsoft Stores located in the whole of the US, effectively ruling millions out of the running for trying out the firm’s products prior to making a purchase. Ease of access to rival brands and products is thought to be one of the key contributors to Microsoft’s waning sales performance in the US market.
Earlier this year, Microsoft’s CFO at the time, Peter Klein, told a Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference that the key to generating interest and sales in the consumer technology market is allowing as many people as possible to actually get their hands on the gadgets and put them through their paces.
“People really need to touch and see and play with it,” he said when speaking of the Microsoft Surface Pro, which would summarily be rolled out to addition retailers along with the firm’s primary stores.
Apple, by comparison, is at the forefront of the consumer tech retail market in practically every developed nation of the world – something with which much of the brand’s success is credited.