Microsoft Ditches Almost all Physical Stores in Retail Shakeup

Today Microsoft announced that they will be permanently closing all of their retail spaces, globally, excluding the Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations, and these are going to be “reimagined,” whatever that means. Microsoft says this will hit their books for a pre-tax charge of approximately $450M, roughly $.05 a share.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter stated “Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings… We are grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online and with our retail sales team at Microsoft corporate locations.” This is an interesting statement, since the reason it appeared Microsoft opened its retail stores was to try and pivot to be more consumer facing, and they’re basically now retrenching. It’s pretty hard to serve the consumers of the world from 4 physical locations only.

The announcement states that they’ve experienced significant digital sales growth, and as such, it might make sense to close down some of the stores. Since Xbox and Windows are now selling so many digital games and programs there doesn’t really need to be the large and expensive footprint in malls around the world to sell discs. Excepting, of course, the importance of mindshare and a way for customers to get hands on time with new technology, like Surfaces or Xbox Series systems.

Microsoft also states it’s going to transition the staff over to “new” services which include things like  “1:1 video chat support, online tutorial videos, and virtual workshops” and it adds that more online services are to come. While no layoffs were announced, they don’t explicitly state there won’t be any either.

It is almost certain that Covid-19 factored into this decision. Given the spikes of the disease in many parts of the world, particularly the America’s, perhaps the company thinks that this situation isn’t going to be resolved in the near future and that retail is gonna be different enough for long enough that retail space just really doesn’t matter. Businesses don’t love uncertainty, and there is no shortage of it these days.

Either way, I’ll miss having a physical location to take my Surface Pro to when it’s misbehaving. I’ve always received excellent support from the Calgary location, and the move to online only support isn’t one I, nor many others, will cherish.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Sweatshopking

I WRITE ON THE TECH REPORT ABOUT ALL THE IMPORTANT STUFF YOU WANNA READ

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
8 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Krogoth
Krogoth
5 months ago

Who at Microsoft thought that having physical stores was a good idea? They never had a chance since Apple already had grabbed the demographics that care about B&M experience.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
5 months ago

its going to cost them a lot of sales. the only reason i got a surface laptop is because they had physical locations. i bought it used, and the power adapter was flaky. it would take several tries to get that mag to get it to charge. one of the pins was probably eroded or something. i went to their store and they gave me a free exchange instantly. having face to face support is what made the product worth buying.

tanker27
tanker27
5 months ago

ok it’s been a long time since I visited TR, before the whole ‘Rona stuff in fact. I am happy to see SSK as a content author. But I am sad his articles are not in all CAPS. 😛
 

DichotomiseThusly
DichotomiseThusly
5 months ago

Apple ditches x86 and Microsoft ditches Bricks and Mortar and Apple becomes more vertically integrated while Microsoft becomes more disintegrated.

chuckula
chuckula
5 months ago

Either way, I’ll miss having a physical location to take my Surface Pro to when it’s misbehaving.

 
Fear not SSK.
 
There’s a magical store where any problem that you have with your Microsoft product will be fixed. Permanently.
 
A place where x86 products are soon to be banished.
 
A place where reality distorts into a field of pure bliss.
 
That’s right: ARMPLE calls to you SSK in the way that maple trees called to your Canuckian forebearers.
 
You must comply.
 
There is no choice. In fact, deep down you don’t even want there to be a choice.

chuckula
chuckula
5 months ago
Reply to  chuckula

Sorry about the geographic link. I had the Canadian apple store but Apple decided it knew bettter than I did with the link.
 
Just come on down to ‘Murica for some Apple.

chuckula
chuckula
5 months ago
Reply to  chuckula
8
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This