The new Windows Store at Best Buy

someoneinwa

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I'm not exactly sure where to post this, but the new Windows Store in my local Best Buy is now complete and I dropped in the other day during the lunch hour. The entire store wasn't very busy that day, but there was one guy in the Windows Store who was working with a clerk on a purchase of two or three large all-in-one devices for his office. He was going back and forth between an HP model and a Lenovo. I wanted to help steer him to the Lenovo or maybe to the same Dell XPS model I use, but I stayed out. The clerk was better informed about the devices than I've been used to at Best Buy. I was impressed with the layout of the store. The all-in-ones were all together and were all working. All of the Windows 8 devices were running some demo software that gave basic instructions to get started. I assume this is a Microsoft enhancement that certainly wasn't present on the launch devices last fall. The tablets and laptops occupied the center of the store. Again, everything was turned on...another thing that was uncommon in Best Buy before the Windows Store. The Surface units were together in the front of the store. The only other customer in the place besides me and the guy buying the all-in-ones, was in this area, checking out the Surface Pro. I noticed that there was a selection of non-touch laptops in the store. These were shunted off to the last row of shelves. While these were also the lowest price devices in the store, there is no question the emphasis is on pushing touch. This is a vast improvement over a few visits to this same store shortly after the Windows 8 launch in which I watched customers expecting touch trying to get the screen on some silly HP all-in-ones to move and be dismayed that so many of the computers being sold didn't do touch. The store has a back wall of peripherals and software packages for Windows 8, Office, and gift cards for Xbox items such as games and music.

The store resembles a Microsoft Store, but without the big video walls and the classroom areas. Xbox stuff remained in the console area of the store with the Sony gear, so counting the Windows Store and the Xbox section, and a front of the store display area for the Surface in the mobile phone section, a large portion of Best Buy is now devoted to Microsoft products. This particular Best Buy has had an Apple section for some time. It was shoved a bit to the side by the Windows Store, which is all you really see as you walk in the front door. There is also a Samsung section, which is way too big for the number of products on offer, and an end cap for Google that I've never seen anyone pay attention to. The several employees present in the Windows Store all appeared to be from Best Buy. I thought there were to be Microsoft employees as well. This was a very positive first impression and it was nice to see some thought and coordination actually go into the display and selling of a Windows product. I'll try to visit again late in the day on a weekend to see if all of the devices are still working and everything appears as inviting as it did that day.
 

Muessig

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In the UK I don't think there are any Windows Store's yet - there might be some in London but I only go there once every few years. I'd love to see Microsoft really push on having more Windows Stores in the UK and other countries. I think the US has quite a few now? It's reassuring to see that the shops are presented well and that the employees seem to know what they're talking about. Were there any Windows Phones on display?
 

farskija

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About a week after I purchased my Surface Pro the local Best Buy also had one of these...very impressive, it is actually larger than the Apple section.
 

Indistinguishable

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What about phone selection? Did they have any Windows Phones in the Microsoft section? All the Best Buys I've been to have a horrible WP selection. No Lumia's, just the 8x.

But I've never been in a Best Buy with a Microsoft section, so I would hope it's different now.
 

someoneinwa

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I meant to write something about the phones, so thanks for reminding me. I did not see any Windows Phone devices in the Windows Store at Best Buy. This particular Best Buy is one of their larger stores and it has a large mobile section in another part of the store. Here, there was a table display of the Surface devices that was the most prominent part of the tablet selection in the mobile store. As for the phones, Best Buy groups its display areas by carrier. The AT&T display included the 920 but not the 1020. The physical Microsoft Stores in the US sell the 1020, but apparently no one else can besides Microsoft and the AT&T corporate stores. The Verizon table had the 928. The T-Mobile table had a space for the 520, but didn't have one on display.

I can understand that Best Buy might want to keep sales of phones segregated in its mobile area where staff is trained to deal with the carriers. That is no reason why the Windows Store section of Best Buy can't have its own display of all of the available models of Windows Phone for demo purposes and then just direct interested customers to the mobile section. There was a display area in the Windows Store along the back wall that highlighted 3 screens and sharing. It looked like there was space for a tablet, phone and an Xbox to be set-up but nothing was in this section yet.
 

fatclue_98

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I have not seen a single Windows Phone on display at the Miami-area Best Buys near my office or home. They sell most of the T-Mo prepaid phones yet they don't carry the L521 that is prominent at Wal-Mart. Don't know if WM has an exclusivity arrangement on this model.
 

berty6294

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I work for Geek Squad (Best Buy) and I can say the "Windows" store is basically just rebranding the computer area. Not even new staff, just the old computer staff wearing Windows shirts. Looks nicer but that's about it. Windows Phone remains in Mobile and Surface remains in Tablets (which is partially the Samsung store)
 

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