Both Staples and Best Buy Leave a Lot to be Desired in Retailing Microsoft Surface RT

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Well in the last couple of days you have seen on this site the sub-standard manner of display that the Microsoft Surface RT has had at both Staples and Best Buy as it makes its retail debut outside of the Microsoft ecosystem.

I ventured out myself today to check my own local Staples and Best Buy retail locations to see if things were any better.

Unfortunately, I found what I expected to find.

The first stop was at Staples. As you can see the end cap display is very similar to what was seen in other Staples locations including the iPad Mini case display!

What was disheartening here was the lack of knowledge of the store clerk. I asked about the upcoming Surface Pro and if they would be carrying it. He indicated they would be but that I needed to be aware that “those devices are proprietary and anything you attach to it or run on it has to be built just for it”

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My next stop was at Best Buy. They had Surface items located in three different areas.

This is the end cap in the laptop/tablet area of the store. This 64GB model was sitting next to another Windows 8 tablet and had a Touch Cover on it.  There were no signs or indicators about the device being there.

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Not far from the above display was another end cap shelf which contained Touch and Type Covers along with a few of the VGA adapters.  Again, there was no signage or anything to draw attention to them or connect them to the other end cap display.

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The final spot Best Buy had Surface RT on display at was a very cluttered table that was located in the same area they do all their mobile phone business at and have all those accessories. It is a table that also contains other Windows 8 devices as well as windows Phones. The Surface RT had a Type Cover on it in this location.

The poor part of this display was the Surface RT had a dead battery and there was no power hookup for the tablet. That means anyone who walks up and wants to interact with the device will see a blank screen.  The next thing they do is walk away from the device!

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Overall, a very disappointing show.

Ed Bott hit the nail on the head on Twitter after seeing these pictures:

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6 thoughts on “Both Staples and Best Buy Leave a Lot to be Desired in Retailing Microsoft Surface RT

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  5. This does not surprise me one bit. In my view this was a hasty decision (that had to be made) by MS as they determined their sales numbers too low, especially with the marketing blitz and all. They needed more retail exposure and fast – prior to the end of the important holiday season.

    The only way they could have supported more retail exposure in the short-term is to have excess units on hand now. Sure they stated they bumped up production but that takes time get through the pipeline. Again, they had extra units on-hand and needed exposure. As you point out the exposure is really been pretty pitiful.

    I visited my local Staples and there was an end display with a single Surface on top, just like the first picture above. No accessories, nobody around to help, and no stock in place for immediate pickup. The only good thing is that I had a chance to work with the device. I did track somebody down for a couple of questions and they were clueless. I asked if anybody knew more about the unit in the store and they basically said they did not get any training and the test unit and display was just delivered two days ago.

    The bottom line is MS needed the exposure and decided it was better to get the units out in front of the public regardless of the pitfalls. This is a calculated risk by MS and a risk MS needed to take. No way I am putting $600 down on an item without being able to see it live. Going forward, I suspect that MS will do retail much better but at the same time, they still will not be given the top level of support or placement.