Microsoft has opened its first physical outlet in the UK. The flagship store, located on Oxford Circus, opened its doors on 11 July to crowds of excited shoppers. The new store joins flagships in New York and Sydney as well as other locations across the Americas. Cindy Rose, the UK Chief Executive, described the store as a “symbol of Microsoft’s enduring commitment to the UK”.
The project is an ambitious one that has taken some years to come to fruition. The new Store Manager, John Carter, said: “This will be more than just a store. Customers will have the chance to explore and get hands-on with technology.”
The “more than just a store” comment refers to the Microsoft Store’s extensive range of services and interactive facilities. As well as the usual devices, software and peripherals that you’d find in a standard computer store, the Regent Street location offers extensive support for individual users and businesses alike. The store’s 22,000 square feet include an Answer Desk where Microsoft users can get advice on choosing the right products and support to get the most out of their tech.
Carter states: “We’ve got a passionate group of store associates ready to bring the experience of tech alive for customers. Unique to any job in retail, there will be many ways for us to give back to our communities, help them build connections and grow.”
Retail and customer service are just the beginning. While customers have been enjoying the chance to get their hands on devices like the HoloLens augmented-reality system, there are even bolder plans. The store also includes spaces for exploration and education in all kinds of tech and STEM topics, with free courses and plenty of opportunities for young and old alike to get their hands on the latest Microsoft technology.
Courses will run year-round and will give learners the opportunity to explore the latest devices, software and cloud-based services, developing their digital skills in an ideal environment. The Community Theatre space hosts events such as coding workshops, while the store’s enterprise area provides support and education for business owners and their tech staff.
A notable feature of the new store is its accessibility. It’s the most wheelchair-accessible store that Microsoft has opened so far, with wheelchair-adapted desks, lowered buttons on lifts and even Xbox Adaptive Controllers for gamers.
After all that hard work you’ll need to relax – and where better to unwind than the store’s in-house gaming lounge? Fans of PC and Xbox gaming can take one of the high-quality gaming chairs or pods and try out a range of exciting titles.