Microsoft’s new flagship store in London has opened its doors to the public for the first time, with people waiting hours to be among the first to set foot inside.
The first physical retail store for Microsoft in the UK, which is located on Oxford Circus and covers 22,000 square feet over three floors, was officially unveiled to the crowd at 11am.
Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, Cindy Rose, UK Chief Executive, and Senior Store Manager John Carter welcomed the public by giving speeches in front of the doors on Regent Street.
Rose said the store was a “symbol of Microsoft’s enduring commitment to the UK”, which allows people to “experience the best the company has to offer”. “Thank you for helping us make history today,” she added.
People had started queuing along Regent Street from 7am to see Microsoft’s Surface devices, HoloLens, Xbox Gaming Lounge and sit in the McLaren Senna on the ground floor.
One customer, Blair, had started queuing at 7:30am after travelling from Wiltshire by bus. “I’m a Microsoft fan but I especially love Xbox. I heard there would be a few games from [videogame event] E3 here,” he said. “I really want to have a go in the McLaren Senna.”
Denise, from Sutton, was interested in seeing the Surface devices. “I want to see the latest technology and products that Microsoft has in there. I might buy a new laptop today.”
Callum, from London, also wanted to sit in the McLaren Senna. “I play a lot of Forza, so I want to experience the car and the Xbox Gaming Lounge,” he said.
James, from Reading, wanted to see how the store could help businesses. “I’m excited to see what it’s like,” he said. “I want to see what they can offer businesses. The outside of the store looks incredible; it’s a masterpiece of architecture.”
Microsoft handed out free T-shirts and Xbox Game Pass codes to people in the queue, while the first 100 visitors to buy a Surface Pro 6 were also given a free limited edition Liberty Surface Type Cover.
At 11am, the curtains in the store windows dropped to reveal excited store staff, dressed in red, green, yellow and blue shirts – the colours of Microsoft’s logo – jumping up and down and cheering.
The customers walked into a store with a modern feel, with lots of space and wood and glass surfaces. They were greeted by staff standing in front of a large video wall and Surface devices on tables, with the McLaren on their right and the HoloLens mixed-reality headset to their left. A wooden spiral staircase or lifts took them to the first floor, where they could play the latest Xbox and PC titles in high-quality gaming chairs and professional pods in the Gaming Lounge, purchase third-party laptops and accessories and get tech support, trainings, repairs and advice from the Answer Desk, or go to the Community Theatre where coding workshops were taking place. Visitors could create their own personalised Surface Type Cover with Surface Design Lab, featuring a range of designs that can be etched directly onto the cover. They also took photos in the Selfie Area.
The enterprise area on the second floor is a place to support, train and grow businesses no matter where they are on their digital transformation journey. From small companies and educational institutions to enterprise customers, the Product Advisors and Cloud Technical Experts will help customers discover, deploy and use Microsoft 365 and other resources to solve business challenges such as AI, data security, collaboration and workplace efficiencies. This floor also contains an area for hosting events, as well as meeting rooms and a Showcase space for demonstrating how customers, including Carlsberg and Toyota, are digitally transforming.
It is also the most accessible store Microsoft has ever opened, with store associates collectively speaking 45 languages, buttons to open doors, lower desks to help those in wheelchairs and Xbox Adaptive Controllers available for gamers with restricted movement.
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Author: Tracy Ith