Yesterday I went to the new Microsoft store at Florida Mall, mostly out of curiosity and something to do at lunch. It’s next door to the Apple Store, which I think is smart – Apple gets a lot of traffic and maybe some of those people decide to look at the Microsoft store for comparison. The stores are similar, if not the same color. Open plan, t-shirted and helpful staff, hardware out where you can try it.
The big difference? Attendance. With no noticeable promotion in progress the Apple store had a lot more people, maybe 3 or 4 times as many. Good buzz at Apple, quiet at MS.
Microsoft has an uphill battle to even that out, but it’s a good battle. Consumers tend to follow consumers, and Apple has built a very successful formula for satisfying – even pleasing – their customers. That is hard to do, hard to replicate. Opening the store is a good start. It does feel a little “me too”, but what is the alternative? Not compete? Not showcase?
Will be interesting to see if the Microsoft stores survive.