- Microsoft opened its very first European retail outlet in London on Thursday.
- Its new retail outlet is just meters away from Apple’s London flagship.
- We in contrast the purchasing working experience at each outlets.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Apple has a new neighbor in London — and it transpires to be one particular of its largest rivals.
Microsoft unveiled its very first European retail outlet on Thursday, which is just meters away from Apple’s personal London flagship.
We visited the two outlets and see how they examine. Here is what we observed:
SEE ALSO: I went to an Apple retail outlet for a fix and was shocked by how disorganized its purchasing working experience has grow to be
Our very first take a look at was to Microsoft. We acquired a seem in the retail outlet two days in advance of it officially opened to the public as portion of a press tour.
The new retail outlet is housed in a Grade II listed constructing that was built by Sir Henry Tanner in 1912. It is the only constructing on Oxford Circus that was not broken for the duration of Planet War II bombings and its authentic bath stone façade is even now intact.
Regretably, the façade was bordered up for the duration of our take a look at.
We have been immediately impressed by the layout within. Straight in front of the entrance is an HD video wall, which was streaming articles about Microsoft’s software package and items.
Kelly Soligon, basic manager of Microsoft Outlets, stated that this is built to “capture customer interest” and motivate pedestrians strolling by to quit in.
Its minimalist design was immediately reminiscent of an Apple retail outlet.
Even so, there have been far a lot more distractions right here.
This McLaren Senna racing car or truck is fitted with a model simulator the place consumers can race its “Forza Motorsport 7” video game.
Upstairs, we observed there was a wider assortment of Microsoft’s Surface laptops and tablets, as nicely as equipment this kind of as headphones and keyboards. There was also an place the place you could come and have your keyboard cover customized.
At this stage, the retail outlet began to really feel a very little busier for the reason that of the combine of items and companies and there weren’t even any consumers in right here at this time.
In the course of the tour, the retail outlet manager, John Carter, pointed out the “Answer Desk.” This is the place consumers can come to obtain help on new items or software package and routine repairs.
This felt virtually identical to Apple’s Genius Bar. Even so, there was substantially significantly less area devoted to this portion of the retail outlet. In busier instances, this could finish up currently being cramped.
The gaming space was possibly the most outstanding portion of the retail outlet and very likely to be a significant hit with avid gamers.
There have been all-around 15 gaming stations set up for consumers to come and perform its most recent Xbox video games. This is a clever way to give individuals an introduction to its video games and get them taking part in.
As are its workshops held in the “Community Theatre.” Microsoft stated it will be holding day by day courses in excess of the summertime for children and mother and father to educate them how to use its items and software package. This aids to get children employing Microsoft gadgets at an early age.
The last floor was reserved for Microsoft’s business enterprise consumers and is built to be a lot more like an workplace than a retail outlet. It is out of bounds to the public but it truly is unquestionably helpful for any of its business enterprise customers.
On to Apple we went.
This giant retail outlet, just one particular block away from Microsoft, opened in 2004 but was redesigned in 2016.
Apple’s outlets are acknowledged for their remarkably minimalist style. As with its items, it truly is all about the straightforward and sleek aesthetic. The strategy is to generate a area the place consumers can simply interact with its items with minimum distraction.
And it certainly achieves this. The retail outlet is quick to navigate and very low fuss.
Apple has also normally touted client support in its outlets. An worker promptly bounded up to us to aid.
Even so, the new retail outlet layout, which was launched by Angela Ahrendts who left the corporation earlier this yr, has drawn criticism.
Ahrendts, who previously hailed from Burberry, set out to make the outlets into luxury showrooms, getting rid of lines, and making the feeling of a “Town Square” or locations the place consumers could congregate.
She eliminated checkouts and launched a method the place income assistants would roam all-around the retail outlet armed with mobile gadgets for consumers to make payments.
Dozens of individuals have been sitting in the communal spaces. It was not clear if they are waiting to communicate to a income assistant or just taking a break.
Ahrendts also replaced its Genius Bars with Genius Groves, which are areas that have been targeted on repairs and help that did not involve lines.
Though this may well sound like a superior strategy on paper, some consumers say it does not perform in practice and can make for a really perplexing purchasing working experience.
Though it was not as well hectic when we visited, we can envision that for the duration of busier instances it truly is really hard to know who to speak to or how to know what your spot is in line.
In spite of this somewhat perplexing setup, Apple’s retail outlet was the winner total.
Apple’s aesthetic provides it an edge in excess of Microsoft. Its severe minimalism and clean style meant we under no circumstances felt overwhelmed in the retail outlet.