Best Buy to open a Microsoft Store at 500 U.S. locations
By Jay Keller
The strategic alliance will also help Best Buy add Microsoft mini-stores to another 100 locations in Canada at both Best Buy and Future Shop locations during a future expansion.
Best Buy says that stores will feature a Microsoft “innovation space” that showcases Windows-based tablets, PCs, Xbox, Windows Phones and Microsoft Office so that customers can “see, try, compare and purchase.”
This set of products featured in the micro-stores will also include other third-party products manufactured by companies like HP, Acer and Nokia and include products that are exclusive to the deal.
Industry analysts were quick to point out that each company is hoping to save the other, so to speak, through collaboration with both hoping to use their combined influence to bring more customers in the door and online.
Each brand has struggled recently in a changing landscape, with Best Buy fighting a price war with online brands while Microsoft was somewhat late to the game with its offerings during the smartphone and tablet boon a few years back.
The deal is not the first store-within-a-store scenario for Best Buy as the retailer maintains a couple of relationships including one with Apple.
There are two main differences, however, that Microsoft hopes to have go their way for the deal to be successful, especially in the competition with rival Apple.
Microsoft could level the field a bit now that it has the opportunity to show the full spectrum of possibilities to the customer in real time using third-party products to run operating systems that power their gadgets.
“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” Microsoft Windows Division spokesperson Tami Reller said in a recent statement.
Apple shoppers see this every time they shop in, or at, an Apple Store.
As such, customers actively seek out locations that feature an Apple Store in particular, a facet that is especially challenging since Microsoft has yet to capture the same customer excitement from its own stores.
“What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy,” Best Buy computing spokesperson Jason Bonfig said in a recent statement.