These days, when people think “Detroit”, the first thing they think is commonly not “upscale shopping.” But out in suburban Detroit—specifically, Troy—there's a complex that's a downright Mecca of upscale shopping in the form of Somerset Collection, a massive retail complex that features a huge array of upscale names. By the end of this summer, it will have one more upscale name to its credit as Microsoft opens its first retail location in Michigan in Somerset Collection.
The Microsoft store is set to open on the second floor of Somerset North, near Macy's, putting it in the same general vicinity as the Apple Store location in Somerset Collection. Given that most of the new Microsoft stores that opened through February 2012 opened within a few feet of existing Apple Store locations, it's enough to indicate that Microsoft may have a larger plan in mind for future locations, putting them directly head-to-head against their longtime rivals. Some analysts have noted that Microsoft store locations have a very similar overall feel to Apple stores, even down to the attire of employees.
Microsoft stores, meanwhile, sell pretty much the full array of Microsoft products. Naturally, they sell desktops and laptops, but also offer the newer product lines like Windows Phone systems and Windows-driven tablets, like the Surface. They also offer Xbox 360 consoles, proving it's not just about productivity. Four other stores are also in the works for Microsoft, with plans to open in suburban Boston and suburban Chicago (Natick and Schaumburg, respectively), as well as locations in Honolulu and Portland, Oregon. They join a larger body of 64 total stores, outmatched by Apple four to one. Apple has over 250 stores to its credit, including five locations in Michigan alone.
Microsoft's retail position is somewhat soft against Apple's, but it really hasn't been at it so long. It's enough to wonder what Microsoft is thinking here; with the decline of brick-and-mortar being seen on several fronts in favor of online and mobile commerce. But since many brick-and-mortar locations are coming under fire by a practice known as “showrooming,” in which users go to a brick-and-mortar location to examine products and get better informed about them on a hands-on level, then turn to online sources to find the best pricing, so it may be that Microsoft is trying to establish a showroom presence.
While Microsoft's overall strategy here is unknown—it could be just a simple case of monkey see, monkey do—there are certainly plenty of possibilities. Regardless of the overarching strategy, Troy shoppers will soon get a chance to get better acquainted with—and hopefully buy—an array of Microsoft products soon.
Edited by Ashley Caputo