With the news that Microsoft will be opening a store in the UK and 74 other locations, one has to wonder whether this will actually work in Microsoft’s favour. With Apple covering 13 countries with 363 stores, Microsoft has to overcome its rival by a huge margin – how big? Well, almost quadruple the amount.
Microsoft currently has 19 stores and even with the upcoming 75 stores Microsoft promises, it means that the company needs 3.8 times more outlets to match Apple in the retail department. The problem Microsoft currently faces is the fact that the upcoming surface tablet will only be available exclusively at Microsoft retail stores or Microsoft’s online store around its launch, whereas, the competition’s iPad is available at other major electronics stores. This decision already puts Microsoft at a substantial disadvantage and although there will no-doubt be other means of obtaining a Surface tablet, we can ensure that stocks will not last forever.
However, the placement of Microsoft’s new store in the UK could prove crucial to the success of Microsoft’s exciting upcoming devices. Currently in London, are 5 Apple stores: there is one in Covent Garden, Stratford, Brent Cross, White City and Regent Street. These stores are placed well, but anyone who’s a fellow Londoner like me would suggest placing Microsoft’s new store dead-centre of Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus – Why? Well, Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus are tourist and shopping attractions for people visiting the UK’s capital and the store would be relatively easy to get to for people from inner and outer London – and let’s not forget it’s the one of the few places in London where Apple hasn’t opened a store.
Regardless of where Microsoft decides to place its store in London, the company needs to select locations for its retail stores wisely due to the near-enough 4:1 ratio of Apple to Microsoft’s stores. Currently, the only way of obtaining exclusive Microsoft-branded items in the UK, is when the Microsoft online retail store will launch later this summer. Europe still currently has no stores or plans to get them, although we’re hoping the 75 upcoming ones includes European countries.
Microsoft isn’t just pushing the Surface towards success, it’s pushing its SmartGlass service, Xbox gaming platform, Windows 8 OS and Windows Phone 8 platform simultaneously. However, the selling point of the company does lie in the Surface tablet. The Surface oozes functionality and productivity, making the tablet something you can actually do work on – regardless of what your profession may be – which fundamentally sets it apart from any tablet on the market. This is a solid feature-filled device with a lot of marketing behind it and I genuinely feel the only way to improve the marketing at this point is for Microsoft to focus on opening retail outlets – which over the course of two years is exactly what they are doing – but what happens after that?
What else does Microsoft need to do to ensure supremacy over Apple. How does the Surface need to be marketed? Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.