This morning Microsoft announced that its physical retail Microsoft Stores, which have been closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic since March, will be closing for good. As part of that announcement, Microsoft said that "(t)he company will also reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations."
As there's been some confusion as to what that means, we've been asking, and this is what we're hearing back:
First, the new Microsoft Experience Centers will serve consumer, small business, education and enterprise customers, with a focus on experiencing Microsoft products. Customers will be able to experience products, see demos, explore device bars, and learn about Microsoft technologies. The experience centers will also offer consultations for small business and education customers, and host trainings.
The Experience Centers will also offer appointment visits for support, and Answer Desk availability for all customers. The Centers will also continue to offer community events and workshops.
All purchases will be fulfilled via Microsoft's various digital storefronts, so that you won't be able to walk in to one of these flagships and walk out with a new device. You will still, however, be able to get hands on with devices and experiences, see demos, get help and support, and check out community events, workshops, and training sessions.
In essence, these flagship stores will offer everything they do now, just without the physical inventory available for purchase.