Microsoft is opening it’s 94th store in Miami tomorrow and I had the opportunity sit down with the store manager and the general manager of communications strategy for an in-depth conversation. Throughout both interviews it became clear that the focus of Microsoft stores is to teach parents, tweens and the community they serve.
Microsoft Store Manager Gustavo Gonzalez took us on a guided tour of the Aventura Mall store pointing out and educating me on each of the products. Highlights of the Microsoft Store for parents and tweens include:
- THREE Xbox stations – one just outside of the store, one right in the door and a larger area in the back
- A 3-D printer – we’re huge fans of 3-D printers and if you haven’t seen one in action you must stop by the Microsoft Store and check it out
- Fully connected phones, tablets, laptops and more – all ready for the entire family to test out
- Knowledgeable associates – a key to any good electronic store and especially a Microsoft store
The store also has an education area where they will be holding a summer camp, classes for local Girl Scout troops and more. This area is open to the community and free to use for holding meetings as long as they meet the Microsoft guidelines.
I went a little deeper into the thought process behind creating stand-alone stores with Jonathan Adashek, Microsoft General Manager of Communications. Here’s a snippet from our interview:
On Why It Was Important for Microsoft to Open Stores:
“We’re building our relationships with our customers one at a time. We hear from the people that use our products that they are looking for the choice, the value and the offers that we give in our stores. People are looking for the curation of products that we provide. We’re want to be part of the fabric of the community that we serve. ”
On How Microsoft Store Associates are Trained to Answer Your Questions:
“You are going to buy from someone that you trust. We put together a team of the best people out there. We find people that understand the community that they’re in. For six weeks before a store opens, we have the store employees together. They’re being trained on the latest and greatest in technology. We continue a mix of personal and video module training to be sure everyone is up to speed and has the tools they need to solve problems. If they can’t answer a question themselves, they turn to their colleagues. One of our key philosophies is that we “win as a team.” If we don’t know the answer, we ask each other.
On Why Microsoft Stores Hold Free Concerts to Celebrate Store Openings:
The larger full-line stores, about 54 of them, have had concerts to celebrate the opening. It’s important because we’re here to be part of the community. We want to offer the opportunity for the community to celebrate with us. We want to give back. In addition to the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert, we’ll be donating a million dollars to four local organizations.
During tomorrow’s grand opening, Microsoft will donate $1 million in grants to Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida (one of our proud partners), Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, The Arc of South Florida and United Way of Miami-Dade. Saturday’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert tickets will be distributed to the first guests at tomorrow’s grand opening.
For more information and to find a Microsoft Store near you, please visit www.microsoftstore.com