A company like Microsoft needs next to no introduction. As a global leader in software and electronics, Microsoft is a well-known industry giant.
From personal computers, to business network servers, Microsoft has been connecting users to high-quality electronics for many years; however, they did not have their own retail space until 2009. That year the very first Microsoft retail store was opened in Scottsdale, Arizona and since then another 75 retail locations have been established across the U.S.
One of the most important things Microsoft wanted to accomplish with their retail spaces design was build an immersive, multisensory, interactive customer experience that would enable them to feature brand marking messages. This was challenging because many of the planned retail spaces were configured differently and would require multiple kinds of configurations to be able to work on the same content playback engine.
To achieve all of these goals, Microsoft asked YCD Multimedia, Synect Media and Gensler to create a technologically imaginative environment that would differentiate them from their competitors. The final design was a long video wall array that would run the length of the walls in the Microsoft retail space. YCD Multimedia would provide their digital signage software platform, Cnario Suite to provide the high quality playback and templating capabilities necessary for Synect Media’s dynamic and interactive content. Gensler would handle the architectural needs and design with the wall configurations necessary to appropriately fit each retail location.
Cnario Suite’s capability and customization was a major benefit in streamlining the content upload and configuration process. Using this software platform, Microsoft was able to deliver ongoing high quality fresh content to in-store customers. Additional functionality was also added to Cnario to create interactive content. Developers also created an add-on to Cnario that gave Microsoft the flexibility to handle the 35 different display configurations used for the retail locations, while also allowing users to reconfigure content on-demand. Together the customized platform cuts production time, increases productivity and seamlessly fully synchronize content.
Microsoft and most importantly Microsoft’s retail customers love the video wall array, saying that it enabled them to feel more at home in the retail environment. This was backed up with higher CSAT scores, where the big influence on customer satisfaction was shown to be the in-store customer experience, where the video wall is the main component. David Porter, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Retail Stores, discussed the new video wall at Microsoft’s flagship location saying, “As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience, this is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.” The malleability of Microsoft’s custom content management system made delivering localized, seasonal content, special events, holiday content, and other promotional materials. With all of the incredible add-on capabilities, Microsoft has maximized both positive customer experience and digital signage usability in a sleek, dynamic and highly adaptable video wall array.