Microsoft today revealed that over 15 million customers have visited its brick-and-mortar and seasonal holiday stores since the first of 30 locations opened in Scottsdale, Arizona just over three years ago. Microsoft notes that customers value being able to see all of the company’s products in one location and get face-to-face with the technology. “We’ve welcomed more than 15 million customers and counting so far, and have learned a lot from them,” said Jonathan Adashek, general manager of Communications Strategy. “Having this direct connection to our customers has really helped us better understand their tech needs.”
[quote_right]“We’ve welcomed more than 15 million customers and counting so far, and have learned a lot from them.”[/quote_right]
The foot traffic has been strong enough at Microsoft Stores for the company to expand its retail locations to additional markets. A new Microsoft Store just opened yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio, while the first international Microsoft Store is set to open in Toronto, the largest metropolitan area in Canada, next Friday, November 16.
“We really want to have a direct relationship with customers. I think when you see people touch the Surface tablet or experience Windows 8 in person, a light goes off in their head,” Walter said. “In person, you get a very different experience and it’s one we’ve been very delighted to provide. When you see our technology in person – when you can touch and feel it – a light goes off.”
Microsoft Stores are similar in concept to Apple Stores, but seem to offer a more welcoming atmosphere and good customer experience. Apple Stores deal with significantly higher foot traffic, so finding an employee to talk to or leaving the store with a positive experience can sometimes be challenging. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Microsoft offers “world-class customer service,” as the company itself claims, it does do a respectable job that encourages me to make a return visit.