Once again, Microsoft is desperately trying to copy their cooler competitor, Apple. This time, the company is jumping on the brick-and-mortar retail location bandwagon. Introducing Microsoft Retail Stores!
There is no doubt that the Apple stores have helped Steve Jobs and friends create one of the most powerful relationship brands by surrounding consumers with another branded experience where they can share the brand they love. The Apple stores employ cool employees, give free training sessions to new owners, and the Genius Bar is always hopping with satisfied customers getting the help they need and further interacting with the brand. It’s a fun store to hang out in!
Can Microsoft create anything close to what Apple has developed with its retail stores?
Let’s face it. Microsoft has a lot to live up to in comparison. I suppose that’s why the first store, which opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, has a modern design that practically duplicates the design of an Apple store. I guess Microsoft copied Apple’s Mac Guy vs. PC Guy commercials, so why not copy their stores, too? Check out the similarities in the exterior and interior pictures of the Scottsdale Microsoft store below. Incredibly similar to an Apple store, wouldn’t you say?
Microsoft store exterior
Microsoft store interior
And here’s a picture of an Apple store for comparison
Poor Microsoft. Always trying to catch up to the cool brand but with no real brand promise or identity of its own. What does the Microsoft brand mean and what does it stand for? A retail store can’t help until the company figures out the answers to those questions and then lives up to those promises.
Microsoft claims the company is trying to create a branding experience by opening retail stores, but what is the message behind that experience? “We’re not as cool as Apple, but you can hang out here and get a 15-minute session for free with an employee to set up your applications, preferences, etc. when you buy a product from us. Hurry in! The timer is already ticking and your 15-minutes are almost up! Don’t worry. We know you’ll be back, because something won’t work correctly. See you soon!”
Where would you rather hang out? The Apple store or the Microsoft store?
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