Microsoft and Apple: Store Comparison
The Microsoft Store is a clear example of Apple Minimalism done right. Apple is known for it's clean stores and friendly helpful staff. Apple Stores are minimal, open, and Simple, in comparison, the idea of a Microsoft store is clean, but not functional. In Reality the truth is completely opposite. Microsoft Stores are incredibly clean and the staff is much more open and friendly.
I walked into the Microsoft Store carrying my Samsung Chromebook in, instantly I was greeted by an employee asking what product was that and if it needed repairs. Upon telling the employee it was the Samsung Chromebook, they were intrigued about the product. They seemed genuinely interested in how the customer thinks.
After telling about the Chromebook, they showed me to a variety of their products that are similar. They brought me around to the Lenova Yoga, the Surface Tablet, and the Acer Iconia Tablet. At each of these computers they talked about how these products are really good for note taking and web browsing, the primary reason why I bought my Chromebook. Throughout my whole time at the Microsoft Store, the employees were very open and helpful and engaging to the consumer. They talked in detail about the Vizio Desktop computer (featured on The Verge yesterday) because I mentioned how Vizio was making an impact in the computer market with their release of a few PC's last year.
The store itself was a lot cleaner than it's Apple counterpart. After using and testing out the various devices, I saw an employee walk over and wipe the display off with a soft cloth. The attention to detail that I saw at the Microsoft Store was greater than that I saw at the Apple Store. At the Microsoft Store all of the products were squared off and cleanly placed on the table. The screens were at the same angles on all of the devices and the employees were at their stations cheerful and matching with the colorful, clean, atmosphere of the store.
The Apple Store in comparison was a little dirtier and a little less organized. The Apple Store follows the guidelines that the company set forward, but it was not as clean as the Microsoft Store. Entering into the store, the displays that featured the iPhone and the iPod Touch were a little off centered, I know that isn't a huge deal, but my Type A eye noticed it in an instant.
Surprisingly, the Apple Store was just as populated by random potential customers as the Microsoft Store and at quick glance seemed like the ratio between employees and customers was equal. Unfortunately, it seemed as if the Apple employees were a little less people friendly than the Microsoft ones. I was not greeted by someone at the front and actually no employee at the Apple Store came up to me and discussed anything. It felt that at the Apple Store, the employees are meant to stay in the background. That is unfortunate to people like me. I think the attention that the Microsoft Store gave me and the customers in general is much better for the sale of their products as a whole.
The store in comparison to the Microsoft Store was a lot grimier. The Stores, only created a year apart, but felt slightly different. The Apple Stores tables and floors were a lot dirtier and damaged than Microsoft's. As many of you know Apple uses a slate rock floor and it is really dark. In comparison Microsoft has light oak wood floors. The wood floors really lightened up the room and made it feel much more open. In the Microsoft Store, Microsoft overlayed glossy white backgrounds with it's nice bright modern colors. The Apple Store is a little darker. It is just a personal preference, but I think that the Microsoft Store, even though it is modeled after the Apple version, looks much better.
I am a fan of the whole Modern interface, so I appreciated the design aesthetics that tied together the Microsoft Stores. The advertisements were much more organized than the Apple counterpart, partially because Apple is selling it's products with software thrown in and Microsoft is selling its software with products thrown in.
A note on the actual computers, I really hope that Apple includes multitouch in their next iterations of their Macbooks and iMacs. I went to the Microsoft Store first and loved being able to touch the screen on all the devices and move my fingers across the screen, it felt incredibly natural to me. Going into the Apple Store felt so odd to me after using the touchscreens of Windows 8. To me it seems that multitouch on laptops feels natural, and I really hope that Apple includes it, or even has it as an optional extra, on their next generation of computers.