Published on December 8th, 2012 | by John I.0
Microsoft’s strategy is “killing” Surface sales
Microsoft have made the decision to only sell its Surface tablet in its own US retail stores and online. This is considered to be the reason why it hasn't sold nearly as many units as was expected.
A recent report on the Telegraph, reveals a theory as to why Microsoft will only sell around 500,000 Surfaces before Christmas rather than the predicted amount of up to two million. The analysis suggested that the lack of distribution was the reason why the product wasn't selling. It also pointed out that the rather high price of $499 or £399 was also a factor as was the mixed reviews of the product. However, it puts the main fault at the lack of availability at top appliance stores in the US. Customers aren't always willing to buy online or travel to a particular store to buy an appliance such as this it seems.
Currently you can only buy the Surface online in Microsoft's own shops or online. Microsoft haven't yet opened any of it's own stores in the UK or Europe yet, they are waiting to see how the US ones succeed before investing in other countries. This means that most of the world are only able to buy the Surface over the Internet. Microsoft currently have 31 permanent stores and an additional 34 which just open over the Christmas season. These can serve up to 350 million people. This is a huge contrast to Apple who have 250 stores in the US alone and have 35 in the UK. With such a small retail presence this could easily explain why they have sold such a small number of their products.
Surfaces have been promoted in cinemas and coffee shops over the UK rather than department stores which is more traditional for this type of product. It was launched late October worldwide in time for Christmas.
Microsoft won't comment on the report, but a spokesman from the company spoke to the Telegraph.They explained that Microsoft will adapt and adjust to the customer and listen to what they want and learn from this to change their strategy. They will then open extra stores when they feel there is a need, although there are no plans to do this at the moment, and they haven't pinpointed any locations for new premises.
So it appears that in order to be a true player in the tablet market, Microsoft are going to have to make Surfaces more readily available in retail outlets, so that they appeal to a wider market. Opening more Microsoft stores might not be the answer, as they will have to open a lot of shops before they cover the sort of area they need to sell enough to be a competitor in this market. They need to make it available in a wider range of shops in the US and allow other consumers in other countries to purchase it in stores as well as online.