Long lines are still the case when Apple launches a new iPhone. So, why does Microsoft, which has just a few dozen stores, get thousands of people to stand in line for a new store opening?
Free Concert Tickets
Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center is no stranger to crowds and long lines. The original Apple Store here has more than double in size, and is still a crowded place to shop for Apple products or get Genius Bar service.
Just a few dozen feet away is the new Honolulu Microsoft Store. As is typical with Microsoft, the store looks and feels much like an Apple Store, though it is filled with Windows PCs, tablets, and phones.
How is it that on opening day, the Microsoft Store had a few thousand people waiting in line (some for 12 hours)?
They were not standing in line to purchase the latest Windows Phone from Nokia, or a Surface tablet, or a PC. As has been the case all over the country whenever a new Microsoft Store opens, the crowd was long. Very long.
Why? Free concert tickets. Here in Honolulu, the first 2,500 people in line were given free tickets to a concert at Kakaako Waterfront Park, just a few minutes from the mall. The first 200 people were given special wristbands which allowed them to meet Neon Trees.
Apple is no stranger to long lines at new stores, and has been known to give away t-shirts and other goodies, but in recent years the lines in front of an Apple Store are there to get the latest iPhone or iPad, not free concert tickets.
Local newspaper and TV stations had reporters on hand to interview both Microsoft representatives and customers standing in line. Customers? No, not really. Most were teenagers and twenty somethings waiting for free concert tickets. And most of them carried iPhones.
Giving away something is the norm for new store openings, and Apple is no exception. There’s plenty of goodwill, plenty of publicity, and the costs are nominal. What’s better is a new product launch which brings customers into the store and that’s where Microsoft lacks.
Diane Lee posted plenty of photos like this one from Kelli Bullock in Honolulu Magazine.