Microsoft has just announced they are closing down all their retail locations. Their four flagship stores in New York City, London, Sydney and Redmond will be turned into experience centers. These experience centers will no longer sell products, but will be offering experiences such as presentations and training opportunities.
In a LinkedIn blogpost by David Porter, Corporate Vice President of the Microsoft Store, the reasoning behind this strategic change is explained.
”As we look forward, we start a new chapter for Microsoft Store. Our team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location. We are energized about the opportunity to innovate in how we engage with all customers, optimize our talent for greatest impact, and most importantly – help our valued customers achieve more.
As part of our business plan, we announced a strategic change in our retail operations, including closing Microsoft Store physical locations. Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely and we will continue to develop our diverse team in support of the overall company mission and objectives.
Our hardware and software sales have continued to shift online as our Microsoft product portfolio has evolved to digital products including Microsoft 365, gaming and entertainment. We have seen strong growth on Microsoft.com and our digital Xbox and Windows storefronts reaching up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets.
At the same time, our retail sales team has grown to serve all customers – consumer, small business, education, and enterprise customers. Our teams were built with diverse backgrounds and skills, speaking over 120 languages and serving customers from any location. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely over the last few months.
Our retail sales team helped small businesses and education customers digitally transform; virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise, government and education customers on remote work and learning software; and helped customers through support calls. The team supported communities hosting more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and helped more than 3,000 schools and 1.5 million students celebrate virtual graduations.
Our New Approach
We will focus on three specific areas to serve our customers:
1) Our team members will continue to serve consumer, small business, education, and enterprise customers, focused on sales, training and support. They will work from Microsoft corporate offices and remotely. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this diverse talent pool is stronger than ever.
2) We will make our digital storefronts the best place to learn, buy, and receive support across software and hardware. Today we offer tools including virtual customer support from our trusted experts, online tutorial videos, virtual workshops with tips and much more. We will continue to invest in innovative digital solutions, including new services such as 1:1 video sales support.
3) We will also reimagine new spaces that serve our customers, including our Microsoft facilities in London, New York City, Sydney and Redmond campus locations. We will continue to co-locate engineering, sales, support, envisioning centers, executive briefing centers, and retail spaces for maximum impact for our customers and our company.
We are excited for this new day, the future of our business, and the ongoing opportunity and development of every team member of Microsoft Store.”