US multinational technology company Microsoft has opened its first European flagship store, located in Oxford Circus, London, with a mixed-reality and digital enterprise retail focus.
The Microsoft London flagship covers 22,000 square feet, spanning across three floors. Upon arrival, customers are welcomed by a video wall and Microsoft surface products on tables, a full-sized McLaren Senna sports car used as a Forza Motorsport 7 experience and a Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset.
On the first floor, Microsoft has created a gaming lounge, kitted out with high-quality gaming chairs and pods, for customers to play the latest Xbox and PC games. Customers can also purchase third-party laptops and accessories, get tech support, repairs, training and advice from the dedicated answer desk. A surface design lab allows customers to create their own etched personalised surface type cover and take photos at the selfie area.
The second floor is where customers can find the dedicated enterprise area, which offers digital support and training for businesses, including small companies, educational institutions and enterprise customers. Cloud technical experts and product advisors can help customers discover, understand and use Microsoft 365 software and other resources to resolve business-related solutions, such as artificial intelligence, collaboration, data security and workplace efficiencies. The floor also houses meeting rooms, a showcase space to demonstrate how companies are carry ing out digital transformation, and an area for hosting events.
Microsoft chief marketing officer Chris Capossela said: “Around 86 million people pass through Oxford Circus every year. That’s hard to beat. London is also an incredibly diverse city, so we can serve lots of different customers here; it’s a very pan-European city.
“There are very few locations in the world that feature all the different parts that make up what Microsoft is. The early adoption of technology in the UK has been very impressive. That’s important when the company is thinking about what investments to make and where to make them. This flagship would not be in London if we didn’t have a very strong commercial business in this country. We thought very deeply about this.”
Microsoft London flagship supports accessibility and education in retail
Microsoft said that the London flagship is the most accessible store it has ever opened, with lower desks for customers in wheelchairs, Xbox adaptive controllers available for gamers with restricted movement and buttons to open doors.
The Microsoft London flagship employs 150 staff members, who speak a total of 45 languages, with selected staff members also communicating in British sign language.
Microsoft UK CEO Cindy Rose announced that the company is donating £1 million to UK charities, UK Youth, Raspberry Pi Foundation and The London Community Foundation. The move is to ‘help them continue to teach digital skills to disadvantaged young people and to support grass-roots community groups in Westminster with digital and employability skills.’
Rose said: “I’m excited about this donation because it’s going to give these charities the opportunity to have even more of an impact across the UK. We are also auctioning ten limited edition Surface devices designed by British retailer Liberty London, with all proceeds going to gaming charity SpecialEffect, which helped develop the Xbox adaptive controller.
“What I love most about this flagship is that it’s so much more than just a shopping experience. It is a destination where we can engage with the local community to bring our mission to life. Whether it’s teaching kids to code, training educators on how to use tech in the classroom, or showing small businesses and large enterprises how we can help digitally transform their organisation, this store will be the best place to experience all that’s possible with Microsoft.”