We've been wondering what the Microsoft's retail shops are going to be like. Well, according to a Powerpoint presentation leaked to us, it's going to make the Apple Store look downright boring. UPDATE: Microsoft comments.
The presentation is by Lippicott, a "design and brand strategy" consultant firm with extensive retail experience that it appears Microsoft has hired to help develop the store's concept, principles, and design. It looks pretty legit to us—if it's a fake, it's fairly elaborate, with detailed graphics, research, plans and even rough store layouts.
Essentially, Microsoft is taking the best elements from the Apple Store, Sony Style and other "flagship" stores. The main focuses are going to be Windows 7, Xbox, PCTV (Windows Media Center) Surface and Windows Mobile, revolving around this concept customer they call "Emily," who's basically a younger version of your mom, since they make all the buying decisions.
Frank Shaw w/ Waggener Edstrom, left a comment below on behalf of Microsoft, implying that many of these concepts are merely that and not final plans:
"As a part of our process in briefing creative agencies, we shared some early prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans. No final decisions have been made. As we previously announced, we are on track to open retail stores this Fall."
That said, it's still probably a pretty good indication of how Microsoft and its consultants are thinking about their store, at least at the beginning of this month, since the presentation is dated July 7.
Here are the highlights of the slides, if you just wanna skip to the meat of the 140 slides we got and the 54 we posted:
• There's going to be a Digital Media Wall—a massive screen—that wraps around the entire store showing various messages, which you can see in some of the slides
• Personalization is something they're stressing big time, with fancy areas devoted to customizing computers and gadgets using an "Xbox style" interface at various kiosks
• Here's a sample store layout
• Lots of Surface demos
• Stage areas for Windows 7, Windows Media Center (PCTV) (it's kinda surprising how much they're pushing PCTV, actually), Windows Mobile and netbooks
• Their take on the Genius Bar is the Answers Bar (or Guru Bar or Windows Bar, depending on which slide you look at, showing it's slightly up in the air, though we prefer Answers Bar since its sounds like slightly less like a Genius Bar ripoff)
• Apple Store-style table layouts
• Some of the stores they profiled for ideas are Nike, Nokia, Sony, Apple and AT&T
• They're already planning out huge demos and events around Project Natal and their secret mobile project Pink
• A fancy Microsoft shopping bag
• You can pay to have your birthday party at the Microsoft Store
In short, if it's anything like what Lippincott is planning, it sounds absolutely amazing, and we'll be lining up the first day it opens.