The San Francisco pop-up store enjoys a prime space within the mall, near escalators that lead to a number of popular stores and also one of the area's busiest movie theaters. The placement seemed to be paying off during opening day, as many of those waiting in line had been drawn in while making their way to some other destination.
"Our sales strategy is here," said Diaconesu, adding that Microsoft's goal was not only to provide a way for consumers to gain face time with the company's employees but also to establish a highly visual presence that would encourage an "emotional connection" with the displayed hardware.
If the store can garner attention during an otherwise mundane Friday, it could continue to attract crowds once holiday traffic invades the mall. The store's employees struck the right tone during their first public outing, constantly returning to check on waiting shoppers and earnestly thanking them for their patience.
It will be tough to keep up the level of personal attention, of course, once Black Friday kicks off the retail world's most chaotic stretch -- but after a busy morning, the staffers showed no signs of waning enthusiasm. With so many portable devices vying to be the season's hot stocking stuffer, the public display of friendly, customer-oriented service might be enough to help Microsoft gain an edge.