- Apple and Microsoft‘s flagship New York City stores are less than half of a mile away from each other.
- Apple provided a better retail experience due to its design instincts and a product strategy that emphasizes items that look similar and are easy to use.
- But Microsoft’s store had flashier products to try out, including virtual-reality headsets.
Apple has been the gold standard for retail since it ignored conventional wisdom and opened its first store in 2001. Since then, other companies have tried to match its first-class customer service and design instincts.
While Microsoft made its fortune on software, including Windows and Office, its expansion into hardware products like the Xbox and Surface tablets and laptops made the idea of a retail store a more realistic possibility. The company opened its first store in 2009.
I visited each company’s flagship store on New York City’s Fifth Avenue to see which offers the better retail experience.
Here’s what I saw.
I started at the Apple store.
The store’s usual location beneath its signature glass cube is being renovated, so the store has been temporarily moved to a building next to the construction area.
While the exterior looked different, the company’s design principles and retail philosophy were intact inside the store.
While the stores have been tweaked since their debut in 2001, they continue to emphasize minimalism, interaction with Apple products, and personable employees.
The store’s layout was even clearer from above.