Redmond (WA) – Microsoft announced yesterday a 20,000 square foot facility in Redmond which houses a fully functional interactive store environment including point of sales and service to the receiving dock. Microsoft is attempting to showcase their view of a retail business solution while at the same time creating an interactive consumer-based research facility to analyze consumer buying habits.
Called The Retail Experience Center, it features in-store displays of Microsoft products which can be purchased, along with new and emerging technologies which, according to Microsoft, “Create connected and differentiated experiences for consumers throughout the retail environment.”
Microsoft believes their Retail Experience Center, which showcase Microsoft-based products and consumer and retailer solutions, can ultimately reduce the expenses businesses would have in conducting their retail business. By using Microsoft’s products, and by seeing them in action, potential buyers of retail solutions can effectively “try before they buy.”
See Microsoft’s Press Release.
It’s an interesting trend we’re seeing. Large companies like IBM, Microsoft and Intel are producing prototypes for things relating to consumers when, in the past, this has more traditionally been the role of retailers. If manufacturers start producing these kinds of products, it seems like it will be a very plain, vanilla, look-a-like future that’s ahead for us. And I personally don’t find that too appealing.