I recently visited a brick-and-mortar Microsoft Store. My wife and I were in the Danbury, CT area and decided to head over to the Danbury Fair Mall and go to LL Bean and, of course, I had to check out a tech store, so we went to the new Microsoft Store.
I was impressed by the fact that it was large, bright and open. There were plenty of customers and store employees. The store employees all had t-shirts on with different things like "Ask me about Windows Phone" etc. on them. They were very polite and friendly and very knowledgeable. I asked a few questions and listened in to them helping other people.
The store had products arranged in different areas and topics. Windows Phones were all over the store, arranged by brand and carrier, as well as desktops, ultrabooks, high end laptops, home use laptops, lightweight laptops, desktops, tablets, peripherals and hardware, software, games, game consoles and more. There was a huge wall-sized Kinect set up also. People were just sitting and trying out products and there was no pressure to buy or leave.
The stores have an answer desk for help and run free and fee-based training and help sessions. There are special events, including community events, music, and more. They also have a free summer program for children.
I was very impressed with my visit and really like the ability to see so many different products and be able to try them out. The selection was the largest I've seen, beating out stores like Best Buy.
I really liked some of the new laptops and found myself liking Windows Phone (not that I'm switching from my Droid any time soon). It was easy to use and the user experience is different from iOS or Android.
What is also interesting is the location in the mall - across the isle and 3 spots down from the Apple store, which is smaller. Both were very busy.
With so much being done and bought online these days, it's nice to have a real world place to go and try out new products.
(Disclaimer: I was NOT paid or compensated for this. I was just impressed with my visit).