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For Business
January 25, 2016

Surface 3 combines design and technology to win over the most prestigious luxury watch group in the UK

We are humbled and feeling great about the momentum that Surface continues to build with business customers. Surface Pro 4 is the fastest Surface adopted in business with customers such as The Carlyle Group, Clifford Chance (UK) and Berkshire Hathaway Automotive all purchasing Surface Pro 4 before it was even announced. Today we are pleased to share that one of the UK’s most prestigious watch groups, Aurum group has decided that Surface 3 is the right device for their brands that have a long history of quality craftsmanship.

Inside an Aurum Group's jewelry store.

To support the momentum with our Surface business customers, and meet further customer demand, we announced in July that we would be expanding the business channel to add more partners selling Surface globally and then, in September, we unveiled the Surface Enterprise Initiative to deliver word-class services and support to enterprise customers along with Surface.

Last week we attended NRF, which is the holy grail of the retail industry events. It was a busy week in the retail space and NRF highlighted some of the most interesting and innovative solutions out in the market today. Over the week we heard from multiple customers how impressed they are by Surface 3 the 10.8” light weight, compact Surface that runs full Windows 10 and the capabilities that it has brought to the industry. We have previously shared that BASF, Emirates, Prada and Skywest have all chosen Surface 3 as their device.

Today we are pleased to share that one of the UK’s most prestigious watch groups, Aurum group has decided that Surface 3 is the right device for their brands that have a long history of quality craftsmanship.

Aurum Group are the custodians of some of the UK’s most celebrated retail brands specializing in Watch and Jewelry sales as Goldsmiths, boutique. Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland. These brands represent a timeless tradition of innovation and quality combining to make a products that are functional and well designed.

I spoke to Paul Smith from Aurum group to discuss why Surface 3 won them over.

How important was it to blend the technology with the history of watch making?
The history of horology spans both artisanship and invention, we feel it is extremely important that the technology we select echoes that heritage. The watch and jewelry makers invest immense passion into their creations, as we do in our pursuit to deliver the best customer service of our industry. The technology we use must complement these aesthetics, and offer the versatility to bring centuries of knowledge, service and design directly to our clients.

Watches of Switzerland store front.

What were you using before Surface 3?
We have been experimenting in our retail stores for several years to find a way to bring ‘a transaction to a customer’, rather than take ‘the customer to the transaction’. Before the Microsoft Surface we have trialed a number of different mobile devices to help achieve this goal. Our initial attempts were using small laptop devices, these did give us the mobility we required, but no matter how small the laptop they were neither as portable as a tablet, nor as performant as a fix till point. These devices also suffered from limited battery life, our sales consultants need battery powered devices that can last an entire day’s trading – without running flat when helping that important client. We have found other devices to be well designed in terms of size, mobility, battery life, however we have over 25 years of software technology we use in store which has been built for a Microsoft platform so the practicality of porting or redesigning this software to another operating systems is both undesirable and extremely costly.

Why did you choose Surface 3?
The Microsoft Surface was an obvious choice, and had reached a level of maturity that made it a great solution. The Surface had advanced to where it exceeded other tablets in terms of the hardware, but for us had a huge advantage in supporting our full suite of Microsoft applications out of the box. Not only did it require no software development, but also adding it to our Microsoft based infrastructure was a very simple step. We were able to get the Surface up and running in our stores in a very small space of time.

How important was build quality of Surface to you?
The build quality and the look of the Surface was extremely important to us. Being a retailer for both luxury and fashion product, it was important to have hardware that maintained these high standards. Within our luxury stores we typically hide all IT hardware until it is required, with the Surface we find that this is less of an issue as its sleek design works wells even within our most luxurious stores.

Our boutique fashion stores take a slightly different approach, we use the Surface as a mobile tablet throughout the whole store, the design is cutting edge and the high standard of build quality means the device can withstand less gentle handling.

How has Surface improved your business?
One of our biggest challenges as a retailer is to constantly strive to improve the client experience. A mobile capability has always been critical for us, so we can empower our sales team to sit down with our clients anywhere in store and process every step of the transaction process without leaving them or asking them to move somewhere else. The Surface has also given us a lot of IT efficiencies, by making the rollout and ongoing maintenance of the devices much simpler. The cost of the Surface solution is not only competitive with all other tablet devices on the market, but is far more cost effective than our Fixed POS hardware we use in store.

Inside one of Aurum Group's stores.

What is the overall solution and how did Windows 10 make this easier?
We run everything on the Surface, everything our stores and our customers need. One of our most recent additions to our software suite is our extended aisle technology. We developed a Universal Windows Platform app which acts as a container for our standard ecommerce site. This container enabled us provide an in store platform for customer assisted online transactions, where payment can be taken by using a standard chip & pin payment terminal. We are also table to use Windows 10 kiosk mode to instantly deploy a self-service version of this application, whilst still using standard payment terminals when the customer checks-out. The most startling aspect of this project is the delivery timescales; using Windows 10 we were able to build this capability in days, an approach which saved us from an otherwise huge project cost.

We are very proud of Surface 3 and that companies like Aurum group are choosing Surface 3 to represent brands that have a long tradition of quality and craftsmanship. We spend a lot of time obsessing over details when building Surface, to have our quality confirmed by such a prestigious group of brands is humbling. Thanks Paul and the team at Aurum group for letting us tell your story and for choosing Surface 3.

Matt Chapman
Surface Product Marketing

Surface 3