When Kevin Eagan (pictured)’s baby, Microsoft’s digital retail business, came to life in 2008, he knew it was going to be more than just an online platform; rather, it’s a part of a customer-oriented multi-channel experience.
And he’s not all talk: currently, the Microsoft website offers not only e-commerce, but also high-definition photos, online classes and workshops as well as real-time help from representatives who come with rankings and background information so customers can best choose the most relevant to their problems.
“All commerce will be e-commerce in the future; it’s not a choice anymore. But that is not to say the brick and mortar stores are oblivious: you also have to set up a physical presence with interactive elements that make the shopping experience itself an entertainment,” said Eagan, citing its upcoming store in London, which is currently wrapped by a video wall that displays what the store will look like.
“Customer service is at Microsoft’s core: making a sale is not our ultimate goal, but to give an experience that they would want to come back for, that they would value over cheaper counterfeits, that they would become evangelists for.”
Next on Eagan’s radar is China, and on the top of his to-do list is pumping out Microsoft’s payment support and supply chain management programmes; cloud connectivity systems and 'hyper-performance' marketing tools that comprise CRM and big data analysis – all of which are the hottest topics in the mainland.
“Establishing a new shop – whether online or physical – in any new area is more than just adding presence there, it’s putting a new face on Microsoft, one that ties to our corporate entity."
As for facing up to its competitors like Apple, Eagan said it differentiates itself by serving the customer and not the product, citing that Microsoft will even lend a hand to customers who come in with Apple-related problems.
“We’re not here to judge. But everything is a cycle: those who succeed are the ones who can weather the cycles of who’s hot right now.”