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The Verge reports that Microsoft, having closed virtually all its bricks-and-mortar stores last year Microsoft , is putting its toe back into the segment by "selling products at its 'Experience Centers' in London, New York City, and Sydney next month."

However, there will be limitations.  There won't be the ability to pick up products ordered online, and the global shortage of computer chips will mean that some products won't be available for purchase.

"Our Microsoft Experience Centers were created to provide customers a way to experience our products in person," said Travis Walter, Microsoft’s head of retail stores, in a prepared statement. “We use these spaces to test and experiment, and continue to evolve the experience based on customer feedback."

KC's View:

The ironic thing is that one of the reasons that the Microsoft stores never really distinguished themselves is that they never did anything to distinguish themselves - they were Apple Store knockoffs without the Apple magic.

These Experience Centers may actually offer customers a differentiated experience that will put Microsoft products in a context that will make them seem more relevant and resonant.  Which is the best thing any retailer can do.