Microsoft's 6000sqm flagship store on Pitt Street in Westfield, Sydney, due to open in “late spring, will be staffed by 50 to 75 employees, including an on-site trainer and a small business specialist.
The store will be a haven for small businesses in need of IT relief, according to Jonathan Adashek, the GM of communications strategy at Microsoft Global.
“We think we can do two key things with small businesses. First and foremost, we can help by being their technology provider. Secondly, our Answer Desk can be their help desk.
“So many small businesses will outsource to contractors their IT support. They don’t want to spend $100-200 an hour on IT support, and then wait and wait and wait when they have a problem — until they are almost crippled.
“They can solve that problem by using our answer desk for free.”
The “majority of the store” will be dedicated to sales but Adashek does not believe the store will compete against its partners.
“Our partners in the retail space are really important to us. Opening this store does not change that. The importance of Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi does not change what we’re doing here.
“We’re not out here to be the lowest price leader. We’ll be competitive on price, but I don’t see us going to market less than retail.”
Microsoft is hoping its retail store can lead by example.
“We’re committed to sharing the learnings from what we get out of our store with our partners, so that they can understand the experience we’re delivering and what the reaction is from our customers.”
Faster computers branded “Signature Edition” will be exclusively sold from the Microsoft store, Adashek said during an interview.
“Everything we sell out of our stores will be a signature edition PC. We remove all of the bloatware, but then we optimise the image on the machine to really have the best experience.
“It makes it cleaner, but that cleaner also makes it faster because it’s more efficient.”
The company’s website claims Signature Edition PCs startup 104 per cent faster and shut down 35 per cent faster than those sold by a third-party manufacturer.
The Sydney-based store will be the first opened outside of North America. Thorough research went into choosing the store’s location, Adeshak said.
“You want to be on Pitt street, but then it’s getting the right spot on Pitt Street.
“We’re going to get this store going great and then we’re going to look at other places. We’re always looking for that next spot for a store.
“Definitely, Australia is a key market for us in the Asia Pacific.”