UNITED STATES—The Microsoft company announced the permanent closure of all of its Microsoft stores on June 26, citing increased online sales and a largely digital product portfolio.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said in a statement:
“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.”
Four stores will remain reimagined as product-less “Microsoft Experience Centers” located in London (which recently opened last year), NYC, Sydney, and Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
The company stated they will continually invest in their digital storefronts, “on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows,” which reach more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.
Microsoft stores functioned as a showcase for physical products, but also featured knowledgeable employees. Workshops, events, repairs, and customer service were offered in-store as well. Microsoft’s transition after eliminating physical stores will largely focus on providing their in-store services online, a task they were forced to solve when COVID-19 involuntarily shut down their retail stores earlier this year.
“The retail team has helped small businesses and education customers digitally transform; virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise and education customers on remote work and learning software; and helped customers with support calls,” the company wrote in an online statement, in response to COVID-19 forcing in-person operations online.
Speaking about Microsoft’s workforce, Porter said, “Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever.”
The company confirmed with The Verge that no layoffs would occur due to store closings.
Wedbush analysts wrote on the closures saying, “The physical stores generated negligible retail revenue for MSFT, and ultimately everything was moving more and more towards the digital channels over the last few years.”
Porter outlined in a LinkedIn post the company’s approach to continually serve customers without a physical store. Team members will continue to, “serve consumers, small business, education, and enterprise customers, focused on sales, training, and support,” virtually from Microsoft offices or remotely.
Microsoft also pledged to, “make [their] digital storefronts the best place to learn, buy, and receive support across software and hardware.” While Microsoft currently offers virtual customer support, online tutorials, and virtual workshops, they plan to invest in new innovative digital solutions, such as the newly announced 1:1 video sales support.