Microsoft is, in a sense, returning to selling items in physical locations. Next month, the software behemoth will begin selling items through its “Experience Centers” in London, New York City, and Sydney. On July 1st, a limited number of Microsoft products will be available, but the global chip scarcity will limit what is available.
Xbox Series X / S consoles will not be available at first, pending an increase in stock to fulfill demand. Other Xbox-related products, as well as Surface devices and Microsoft 365 subscriptions, will be available.
In a statement to The Verge, Travis Walter, Microsoft’s head of retail operations, stated, “Our Microsoft Explore Centers were developed to give customers a means to experience our products in person.” “We use these areas to test and experiment, and based on user feedback, we continue to improve the experience. Customers will be able to purchase certain Microsoft products in New York, London, and Sydney beginning July 1st.”
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Last year, just after the pandemic began, Microsoft permanently closed its retail outlets in the United States and around the world. Store personnel has been relocated to departments that assist in selling to, training, and supporting Microsoft’s commercial customers.
This move does not imply that Microsoft’s retail stores would reopen, and there will be no online ordering or pick-up in-store options. Microsoft has been hosting business clients at its four Experience Center locations, and the opportunity to purchase products is primarily aimed at those who visit.