In an official blog post on Thursday, Microsoft announced SMB Zones for all its store locations. The zones will be in bricks and mortar Microsoft Store locations. In its post, the company says this furthers the ability of its retail locations to help businesses and entrepreneurs.
The SMB Zones give customers “hands-on access to business-grade technology and technical guidance”. Partners will be able to access the locations and connect with customers and demonstrate their services and products.
As well as introducing physical zones in Microsoft Stores, the company also debuted Accelerate Your Business. This is a program that matches the needs of customers. It is a leasing service that Microsoft says is designed to give online and in-store training.
Microsoft description of Accelerate Your Business in the post:
“This new leasing program is designed to simplify the decision-making process and ensure business owners have access to the latest in business-grade devices, warranty options, and best-in-class in-Store and online training and support.”
There are over 100 Microsoft Store locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. The company says these stores are important for supporting businesses and partners. Of course, the stores also let customers buy the company's latest products and services.
Other Small Business Resources
Microsoft says SMB Zones and Accelerate Your Business help customers expand their services. They can use them in conjunction with the following existing resources:
Business Sales Specialists: Business sales specialists help guide local business owners and entrepreneurs with their technology needs.
Answer Desk: Advisors at the Answer Desk help small and midsized businesses keep their devices running smoothly. They are on-hand to answer technical questions, make recommendations and offer full service and support on all software and hardware. In fact, they'll answer questions and attempt to fix PCs, tablets or phones free of charge, regardless of what device you have or where you bought it – it's like having your very own helpdesk and IT support right in our Store.
Surface Membership: A subscription-based program, Surface Membership provides Microsoft Stores' small and midsized business customers with in-Store, online and phone support, one-on-one personal training, financing, member discounts and more. Small and midsized business customers can now take advantage of lower monthly rates, reduced buyout fees and additional in-Store support with our updated Surface Membership model.
Personal Training: Specialists educate customers with tutorials about Windows devices, Office 365, OneNote, Skype, OneDrive and more. Personal trainings are available for $49 for one-hour or $99 for one year of unlimited use.
In-Store Events: Microsoft Stores regularly host networking events, workshops, trainings and seminars on topics like “Quick and Easy Online Advertising” and “How to Stay in Touch With Customers” led by both Microsoft and industry experts.
Hosting Events: The Community Theater is available at most Microsoft Stores for partners and businesses to host trainings or networking events, free of cost.