With its new Surface tablets fighting for market share with more well-established rivals, Microsoft is doing all it can to spur consumer interest in them. To that end, the company is expediting what has to date been a methodical/slow retail store rollout.
Back in December, Microsoft announced plans to open six new brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. by summer. Today, the company added five new locations to that list. The chosen cities: Natick, Mass.; Portland, Ore.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Troy, Mich.; and Schaumburg, Ill. — assuming that Microsoft has its geography right, which isn’t always a sure thing.
Microsoft’s decision to ramp up its minimalist brick-and-mortar retail presence follows criticism that early sales of Surface were hamstrung by far too limited distribution. The company subsequently expanded Surface sales to Staples and Best Buy.
A wise move, of course. But big-box retailers like those aren’t going to showcase Surface and other Microsoft offerings the way an eponymous store will. By expediting its retail store rollout, Microsoft is not only increasing locations where consumers can have meaningful hands-on time with its products, it’s constructing a brick-and-mortar marketing juggernaut of the sort that has been quite effective for its rivals. The company said in 2011 that it would open 75 more retail stores in the next few years. These upcoming openings are another sign that the pace is quickening.