Please look at my notes and pictures dated 'December 17, 2012.' These begin right after my quick thesis.
The following are blurbs without pictures:
December 17, 2012 Surface - Site Checks in Union County NJ – Staples and Best Buy
I wanted to see the Microsoft Surface in Staples and Best Buy. The following are my notes:
Staples Watchung NJ:
I was looking at several tablets but could not locate the Surface. I asked a sales person if they could direct me to the Microsoft Tablet. The sales person asked me which one I wanted to see. I said, “I would like to see the Tablet made by Microsoft.” The sales person responded, “Oh, there are quite a few,” as the salesperson showed me the Galaxy, and several others. I asked, “What about the tablet manufactured by Microsoft?” The salesperson responded, “Oh, we don’t have any of those.” I asked, “are you sure, would you mind checking with someone?” The sales person checked with a manager, and the manager said, “Sure, we have the Surface, it is in the back of the store at an end cap.” We journeyed past all the Desktops, laptops, cell phones, and other tablets, till we got to the back of the store and saw the Surface. Here are some pictures I took to show you the display, as well as how poorly the display (in my opinion) was put together.
In the picture above, notice how the Surface appears to be floating. There is also only a Touch Cover displayed. I asked for the Type Cover and the sales person said this is the only cover they sell. I looked at an empty box below that had written, “Type Cover $129.” The salesperson responded, “We don’t have those.” My guess is they actually do have them, and that the salesperson just did not know.
In the picture above, notice how the security device blocked the folding hinge from closing.
In the picture above, you will notice that Staples in Watchung NJ decided to put legs on the Touch Cover. These legs made using the Touch Cover impossible. The Touch Cover is light weight, and having it on 4 legs made it feel flimsy, and really was not a pleasurable user experience. As I touched one of the legs, the store alarms started to ring loudly.
Above are two more pictures of the touch cover displayed unattached to the device.
I asked to speak with the store manager. The store manager and another manager spoke with me about the Surface. I asked, “When is the next Surface coming out?” “There hasn’t been one announced yet. Would you like to buy this product?” I responded, “I was going to wait for the Surface Pro.” Both responded, “What is that?” I mentioned it was another tablet which would have full Windows 8.” Both responded that they don’t think such a machine has been announced. I explained it has been announced, and perhaps they should read up on it.
I showed the store manager how the security device on the tablet itself was not giving the user the ability to fold the hinge, and experience the tablet as it is meant to be with the hinge closed. At this point the store manager seemed agitated, and really didn’t want to talk further about this.
I told the manager I was surprised the display was tucked in the back of the store, and that the salesperson I first encountered did not even know the product was in the store or that it existed. The salesperson was knowledgeable of the other tablets. I didn’t mention to the store manager that the device wasn’t able to connect to the internet.
I showed the store manager how the user experience was awful. The store manager mentioned, “We have to make sure there is security devices on these.” I mentioned I understood, but couldn’t they be put in a different part of the tablet, whereas the user experience wasn’t painful. The response was, “No sir, this is the way Staples is displaying the product in all of their stores.” I mentioned, “This is like a butcher selling fine prime steaks, and the ones in display were old, smelly, discolored with worms crawling around the meat.”
I mentioned to the manager that I would be shocked if the other Staples stores displayed this all the same way. The store manager mentioned that is the case. I asked, “Would you perhaps say something to upper management. To me, it seems as though Microsoft has an image problem, and this type of display would possibly enforce this negative thinking.” The salesperson responded, “Sir, a lot of thought and decisions go into store placement and security devices. There is no reason to mention this display to anyone else. I’m sorry you don’t like it.”
With that I left the store and traveled East ward to my next Staples Store.
Staples Springfield NJ
I walked into the Springfield NJ store. As soon as you walk in, there is a prominently displayed Surface with both the Touch Cover and Type Cover available for testing. The security devices were present on all equipment, but the placement of the device was much better, and gave the user the ability to take the keyboard off of the tablet, close the hinge, and use the machine.
The picture above was from the Staples Springfield NJ store. Clean display, well positioned for all customers entering the store to see, as well as the ability to give the potential Surface owner the full Surface experience.
I spoke with a salesperson. The salesperson mentioned that the user experience is very impressive, and that the tablet is real nice. The salesperson offered, “I think when the Surface Pro is released, these will go flying off the shelves.” I spoke with several Staples workers at the Springfield store, all seemed knowledgeable of the Surface and the forthcoming Surface Pro.
Obviously all Staples stores are not displaying the Surface in the same end cap at the back of the store as is Watchung NJ Staples, nor does the other store put on legs to prevent shoplifters as well as any possibility of a positive user experience.
Best Buy Union NJ
As soon as you walk in the doors, walk towards Mobile, and you will see a large Surface display. The person I spoke with was quite knowledgeable on the Surface, and this person also mentioned, “I am getting a Surface Pro when it comes out next month.”
The one issue at Best Buy Union was that the Touch Cover had a security device on the bottom of the pad.
The user experience wasn’t awful, but certainly having the security device on the bottom left would make the experience much better. I asked to see the store manager. The store manager came over and we talked. The manager mentioned, “We need to change this display. You are correct, the experience is hindered by the security device placement. Also, I agree with you, and we should also display the Type Cover. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, and honestly, this was quite helpful.”
I will post more, when and if, I have Surface experiences to share.