It seems like the coronavirus pandemic isn't just changing how we work
, but also how we shop. Microsoft Store outlets were closed because of the pandemic in March and the company has now announced
that it's shutting them down for good.
All retail activity will now be online, with employees providing sales, training, and support digitally from corporate offices. The company notes that its online sales have grown and it's confident that its team, which is diverse and skilled, is capable enough to serve customers beyond physical outlets.
Apparently, Microsoft was planning to make this shift
well before the coronavirus struck, and the last few months have only strengthened its resolve, after its workforce proved that it can handle all kinds of consumers, including education and enterprise customers, remotely. The team has hosted over 14,000 virtual workshops and camps and more than 3,000 online graduations since March.
Per Microsoft, its digital storefronts, which consist of Microsoft.com, and stores on Xbox and Windows, are frequented by over 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.
The company has confirmed that the change in its retail strategy will not result in layoffs. Rather, it's going to invest more in one on one video chat support, tutorial videos, and virtual workshops.
Four Microsoft Store locations will be reimagined as Microsoft Experience Centers
Four existing locations in London, New York City, Sydney, and Redmond will be revamped as Microsoft Experience Centers, allowing the company to maintain some semblance of a retail presence.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said:
It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers. We are energized about the opportunity to innovate in how we engage with all customers, maximize our talent for greatest impact, and most importantly help our valued customers achieve more.