To say the mobile device retail shopping experience has been miserable for many, might be the understatement of the digital age. Long lines, upset customers, and a store that not laid out in a manner where you can find what you need.
So, I was excited to learn AT&T has a new concept in retail stores, and I was even more excited to see one of their new concept stores which is housed in one of the AT&T office buildings in Atlanta.
Stating that they are even unsure how long the “retail store” concept will be around, Paul Roth, president of retail sales for AT&T proudly showed me around the new design and in short, it’s impressive.
Beginning today, this new bright, modern, and open design will begin rolling out nationwide.
“This store is built for the future and for customer service,” explains Roth as he moves about the store explaining the thought and psychology behind the set up.
He’s right, it’s a retail store like you have never seen before.
Taking the best traits of AT&T’s award-winning Michigan Avenue store in Chicago and adding elements that ease the customers trepidations about mobile phone service and high technology, this store appears more classroom or learning center than “open your wallets” retail store, and that’s refreshing.
One of the great features of the new store is what AT&T is calling the “Solution Center.”
Roth says the Solution Center area of the store is key to getting customers to come back.
“Anything that requires a little more time than what you would talk about on the floor, maybe something about your bill, or something that would require a private conversation could take place in the solution center area of the store.”
Customers want personal service, so learning tables are in every store. An AT&T employee will help you set up your new phone or tablet.
What a novel concept, employees actually will spend time with customers, educating them and familiarizing them with the product they just purchased.
Which is why I asked how the stores will be able to handle high demand days like and iPhone or iPad launch and Black Friday.
“When those spikes in business occur, we can supplement the six fixed stations in the stores with more capacity to set up mobile terminals,” adds Roth. “The customers rated the experience higher with a tablet- it felt more personal.”
While customers will still be able to purchase the same great devices and accessories that always have at AT&T stores, this next experience will showcase digital screens with helpful information, props that tie in with the customers own household should add context to the confusing world of mobile technology and communication.
It’s all part of AT&T’s bold new plan. A plan that takes the “customer experience” into account.
It’s the innovation AT&T has shown throughout the rest of the company now brought to its retail operations. It’s a bold and necessary step, and AT&T has hit the bull’s eye with this one.