Microsoft Store transitions from physical to fully digital
Microsoft has announced that, in a strategic change of direction, its retail operations (Microsoft Store) will now be an exclusively digital service.
Despite the amended focus, the company stated that Microsoft Store’s functions - sales, training and support - will continue unabated for its 1.2bn monthly users in 190 markets via remote working capabilities and at the company’s various corporate locations.
David Porter, Corporate VP, thanked Microsoft’s customers for their support and explained that the change was reflective of shifting business paradigms and product lines:
“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location.
“We are grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online and with our retail sales team at Microsoft corporate locations.”
COVID-19: accelerating digital transformation
The company’s physical stores closed in March during the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this announcement means they will not re-open, Microsoft was quick to highlight that its teams had been unrelenting in their determination to help customers through the ensuing difficulties by virtual means.
Contributing over 14,000 online workshops and more than 3,000 online graduations, the effects of the virus might have changed the operational dynamic but they certainly haven’t slowed it down.
“We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months,” continued Porter.
“Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever.”
Kathleen Hogan, the company’s Chief People Officer, agreed: “The Microsoft Store team has long been celebrated at Microsoft and embodies our culture.
“The team has a proven track record of attracting, motivating, and developing diverse talent. This infusion of talent is invaluable for Microsoft and creates opportunities for thousands of people.”
As it has been for thousands of other companies around the world, COVID-19 continues to be a catalyst for accelerating nascent digital transformation. Microsoft is ready for the ‘new normal’ and looks forward to serving its customers in a thoroughly new and modern way.
Image courtesy of Microsoft
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”