Late last week, Microsoft announced “a new approach to retail.” This approach, effect immediately, will see the closure of all but four of Microsoft’s retail outposts across the globe.
Only a quartet of stores will remain open in New York, London, Sydney and Redmond, but they will become “Microsoft Experience Centers” and offer no product for sale. The shift to digital service over brick and mortar was something that Microsoft was looking to implement by 2021, The Verge reports, but coronavirus gave the tech giant the impetus it needed to enact this sweeping change.
“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter in a statement. “We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months.”
Microsoft noted that none of its retail staff will be let go, as they instead transition to digital-facing positions. It also noted that Microsoft’s website will soon receive ew services like “1:1 video chat support, online tutorial videos, and virtual workshops,” along with other forthcoming initiatives.
H&M is taking a similar digital-first approach as it closes nearly 200 of its own stores.