“The Apple stores, which never receive enough credit in the resurgence of Apple, provide a solid and secure place for consumers to experience their ecosystem, and see the value of the integration between different hardware platforms.”
While the increased level of integration coming on the market these days is taxing even Apple’s capabilities, Baker thinks it is clear that they have a strong selling platform to merchandise their vision to the consumer.
But does Microsoft?
“We might argue that many of the investments and activities that Microsoft has engaged in over the last five years have been headed towards transforming a sales channel focused on point solutions to one that can sell an integrated vision of the future across all Microsoft-powered devices,” Baker adds.
“The launch of Surface devices and the Nokia phone purchase should be seen in this light, but so too should be the growth of the Microsoft stores and the large investment Microsoft made in Best Buy in 2014 to create a store within a store platform for their products.”
With all of these activities, Baker accepts that Microsoft has made “considerable inroads” in its ability to sell solutions and while the job clearly isn’t done yet, even a cursory glance at the Windows Store at Best Buy shows the enormous potential for how well this might work.
“There is always the challenge of training and managing a retail partner’s execution and this is no exception, so Microsoft has built its own store network where they have complete control of the experience (much like the Apple Stores),” he adds.
“Again, just like their attempts at building a higher value partner experience the stores are an unfinished process as well.”
As a result, Baker believes that with the cross platform capabilities of Windows 10 comes the need to re-imagine the sales channel as well and build one that can add the additional value required to sell the customer a solution, and not just a product.
“It is fair to say that Microsoft hasn’t finished that task but that it is clearly headed down that road,” he adds.
“As Windows 10 comes to fruition in the next few months watching how Microsoft prepares its sales channels for the challenges of selling works better together will be a key story to watch.”