Windows becomes the latest Best Buy store-in-store

The rollout of Windows stores at Best Buy should be complete by September.

Microsoft via Associated Press

The rollout of Windows stores at Best Buy should be complete by September.

NEW YORK — Best Buy is partnering with Microsoft to feature a store-within-a-store for its Windows products, the latest major consumer electronics retailer to acknowledge advantages of the brick-and-mortar format.

The store-within-a-store will offer Windows-based PCs, tablets, Xboxes, and trained staff to explain Windows 8.


Best Buy continues to battle ‘‘showrooming’’ — people browsing in stores but buying the items online, often at lower prices. This has fed fears the big-box store is obsolete.

But major retailers are finding advantages in having a place where sales staff can explain products to shoppers. Best Buy Co. has similar store-within-stores for Apple, Samsung, and Magnolia products.

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Belus Capital Markets analyst Brian Sozzi said the move ‘‘absolutely makes sense,’’ and he expects more store-within-store formats at Best Buy.

‘‘The fact is Best Buy has prime floor space up for grabs, and tech companies want their best offerings in there (along with the customer service), instead of buried on Amazon,’’ he said in a note to clients.

The chance for demos is a particular advantage for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp., which has seen slow sales of Windows 8 products as the tile-format has confused some consumers. The look is a complete break with more than two decades of Windows history, and offers few signals about where to tap and click to perform basic functions. More than 1,200 Microsoft-trained workers will staff the kiosks.


‘‘The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience’’ that explains Microsoft products and services, said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer.

The move is a ‘‘vital strategic step forward,’’ in Microsoft’s retail strategy, wrote Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder in an online post. It isn’t as ambitious a move as it could have been if Microsoft had opened more of its own stores, for example, he said, but acknowledged that would have been more expensive.

The store rollout in 500 Best Buys in the U.S. and 100 Canadian stores should be complete by September. A similar Windows store will be available, with updates on store locations, deals and other information.

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