At one of the #win7tech session, we talked all about the expansion of the Microsoft mortar and brick stores across the US. As part of this fun interactive twitter chat, we were asked to find and name the location of a few of the stores. So, I go to the link they provided, I look at the website and tweet back some of the locations: San Diego, CA, Oak Brook, IL, Bellevue, WA, and Houston, TX. They all seemed so very far from me but I never imagined that I would find myself in the Oak Brook, IL store a few weeks later!
When doing some research for this post I found out that Microsoft has been opening new locations at a break-neck speed, opening 11 stores in the last 18 months[i]. There are 13 stores now opened and I am SURE more are in the works.
On a road trip to Chicago, I found myself with Melissa Lierman and Allison Graham cruising the Microsoft Store. Melissa & Allison were in a bit of a bind and needed some computing power fast. When Allison’s computer crashed and Melissa needed a faster machine to keep up with her lightning-speed-fingers, we found ourselves getting a personalized tour of the Oak Brook store just outside of Chicago.Much to our relief, Store Manager, Joseph Adams, helped us navigate the very overwhelming choices that we could find at the store. As Melissa & Allison tested out all sort of models, I had the chance to look throughout the store.
Here is some of what I saw:
There is an ever changing digital wall with great graphics that span the length of the store and was seasonally decorated. [I took this picture just for my kids (obviously, we were there just before Halloween)]. The store’s layout had different sections for different products: a full interactive drive-before-you-buy Kinect XBOX 360 play area for gamers, families and kids.You have to love that they not only encourage you to look but to play as well so that you will be happy with your purchase. If you are shopping Black Friday – or any day really – make sure and check out their fantastic FaceBook page for some great deals :0)
As I continued my tour, I noticed that there was a quieter area where you can sit and just take in the ‘movie’ or ‘gaming’ experience. It is laid out like a living room with comfy club chairs, a coffee table and a big screen TV. I love the title: Experience the Possibilities. That is what this visit to the Microsoft Store was: an EXPEREIENCE.
Another section was dedicated to a variety of tablets and accessories for your computers. Honestly, if you don’t see this as a kid in a candy store for adults you must be delusional!
Joseph, our ‘lifesaver’ and Assistant Manager, was so very helpful but that is the standard at the Microsoft Store. All the technical sales professionals were fantastic at asking all the right questions to determine what would be a good fit. Joseph took the time to show us the options but steered us away from systems that would were either inadequate in one instance or over-kill in another. I found out that one very cool customer service is that you can schedule a personal shopping appointment so you too can have one-on-one attention from a sales associate. If you have a problem, you can also make an appointment either on-line or when you walk in the store and a trained technician will help you figure it out – how cool is that?
Moral of this story: Visit a Microsoft Store close to you; make an appointment or just walk in and TRY EVERYTHING what have you got to lose?
[i] Tyson Corners, VA (Washington,DC area), Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, WA, Century City (LA), CA, Houston, TX, Atlanta, GA, , Costa Mesa, CA, Bellevue, WA, Bloomfield, MN, Oak Brooks (Chicago), IL, San Diego, CA, Lone Tree (Denver), CO + Mission Viejo, CA & Scottsdale, AZ
Note: All pictures are owned & copy-write protected and cannot be used without the expressed-written approval of Margarita Ibbott. No part of this blog post can be copied without approval.