Today, we announced a strategic partnership to create the Windows Store only at Best Buy, a comprehensive store-within-a-store in 500 Best Buy locations across the United States and more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada.
The stores within Best Buy will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet and will be the premier destination for consumers to see, try, compare and purchase a range of products and accessories, including Windows tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox and more.
With that in mind, we wanted to talk with Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, who has a passion for retail and is a serious tech guru. Chris is a 20-year veteran of Microsoft, who served as Bill Gates’ speech assistant in his early years, and most recently was Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Office Division. Today, as chief marketing officer, he’s one of the biggest stewards of the Microsoft brand, including how it comes to life in retail.
Brandon LeBlanc: What’s unique about the Windows Store only at Best Buy?
Chris Capossela: Well, unlike a lot of store-within-a-store concepts, this will actually be a department-level takeover within Best Buy stores. And they will be massive in size, up to 2,200 square feet in some locations. The other unique thing about the Windows Store is the people. There will be an additional 1,200 staff on hand to provide a great customer experience, whether it’s choosing the right PC or showing consumers how to stream Xbox music through their Surface. Finally, the online experience should be fantastic. We’ll have a full online Windows Store experience that will mirror the in-store look-and-feel and offer a full range of Microsoft products, even those from other places in the Best Buy store.
Brandon LeBlanc: Is this partnership solely focused on the Windows Stores in these 600 stores?
Chris Capossela: Actually, it goes well beyond the computing department in these 600 stores. It also means we will have a great Windows tablet table inside the Best Buy Tablet Department, Windows Phones in their Phone Department, and lots of space for Xbox in their Gaming and Home Theater Departments. So there will be a big Windows experience where we bring everything together, but we’ll also look great in the other departments where people go. And, of course, we also extend the partnership to Best Buy’s online experience.
Brandon LeBlanc: So, why is Best Buy the destination choice for Microsoft?
Chris Capossela: It’s more about being the best destination choice for consumers. Today, Best Buy is the No. 1 retailer of PCs in the world. We’re able to do some really unique things through this partnership to show the range of our products – from PCs, to notebooks, to Surface, to Windows Phone, to Xbox – and how they all work together. We’re creating a premium experience for customers at scale, and Best Buy has been an amazing partner as we’ve built this out. As we said earlier this year, retail is a priority, and this partnership with Best Buy is a prime example of our commitment to the customer experience in evaluating, experiencing and enjoying Microsoft devices, and the software and services that connect them.
Brandon LeBlanc: Is there a story you want to tell customers when they come into the Windows store?
Chris Capossela: We’ve heard a lot from customers over the last year. They’re buying tablets and other devices to complement their PCs. They’re using technology both at work and at play, and it’s blurring how they think of using tech in their lives. At the same time, they’ve asked us to showcase touch-first devices in a compelling retail environment. We’ve listened, and the story of the Windows Store is that we’ve delivered what customers want: more touch, more hands-on experiences and more opportunities to see Microsoft technologies and how they work together.
Brandon LeBlanc: How is the Windows Store configured – what kinds of experiences and scenarios can we expect to see?
Chris Capossela: It’s something that has to be seen to be believed. Looking at the store head-on, it will feature an innovation table in the front, highlighting the newest and best Windows technologies of the moment. There will be a dedicated Surface area and central showcase tables with the latest and greatest PCs, laptops, convertibles and more. The back wall will feature software and accessories. And there’s an ecosystem section with real-life scenarios across Windows devices. This ecosystem area is exciting, because it will show off stuff like Xbox SmartGlass and SkyDrive. Personally, I love how I can use SkyDrive on my PC and phone, and how it saves me time when sharing documents at work, and photos with friends and family. This is a chance to show our customers the same thing – to let them see how Microsoft technology can enhance their lives.
Brandon LeBlanc: What will be different for customers when they come into the Windows Store vs. the Microsoft Store?
Chris Capossela: Well, first of all, we’re committed to our Microsoft Stores. With 68 stores open in North America, we’re seeing great success in our growing network. The Windows Store at Best Buy is really just another great opportunity to reach customers in more places and give them choice in their technology-buying experience. We’ve taken learnings from the Microsoft Store into the Windows Store at Best Buy, and we ultimately feel this is another great channel to offer a superior experience for the millions of customers who rely on Best Buy to purchase their PCs.
Brandon LeBlanc: What’s in your bag now – which PC and phone?
Chris Capossela: I carry the Nokia Lumia 920 phone and the Acer Aspire S7 on the road with me. I also use the Surface Pro around campus during meetings, but I really love the Acer Aspire’s larger screen for road trips.
Come discover the Windows Store only at Best Buy beginning in late June through September. More information about the Windows Store only at Best Buy is available here at BestBuy.com.