Microsoft is partnering with Best Buy to place more than 600 “Windows Stores” inside the retailer’s locations in the U.S. and Canada — a new “store within a store” strategy that promises to give the Redmond company a much bigger North American retail presence as it tries to find its footing in tablets and smartphones.
The Windows Stores will average 1,900 square feet, ranging from 1,500 to 2,200 square feet depending on the configuration of the location. The Windows Stores will be “massive in size,” representing a “department-level takeover within Best Buy stores,” says Microsoft chief marketing officer Chris Capossela in a Q&A posted on Microsoft’s Windows blog.
The stores will be placed inside 500 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and more than 100 Best Buy stores and Future Shop stores in Canada. They’ll be staffed with Microsoft specialists, and the companies say they’re adding more than 1,200 Microsoft-trained retail staffers to work the stores.
Microsoft says test stores are launching today, and the first official stores will start coming online later this month, with a plan to complete the rollout by early September. Featured products will include Windows PCs, Surface, Office, Windows Phones, and Xbox.
Here’s a video from Microsoft about the new stores.