As the lines between the physical and digital retail worlds blur and consumers turn to their mobile devices and apps to enhance their mobile lifestyle, AT&T aims to enhance the shopping experience for its customers through an innovative new store design.
“It’s all about finding solutions for our customers and whatever it is they are looking for,” said Marci Holland, director of sales for the AT&T Greater Houston Area/Beaumont. “In most retailers you pick up the product off the shelf … you open up the package when you get home and you try it out. It either works or it doesn’t work the way you thought it would. In this store, you’re actually able to demonstrate before purchasing a product.”
Many of the new store design and merchandising elements for the new store at 4460 Dowlen Road in Beaumont were first seen in AT&T’s award-winning flagship brand store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, described on chicagobusiness.com as “gleaming … with an Apps Bar staffed by ‘app-tenders’ and plenty of communal space to grab a seat and play with gadgets.”
“It’s one of three in our entire company that we were able to build in Beaumont. It’s very similar to the Michigan Avenue store as far as the elements that we have inside the design itself,” Holland said. “There are obviously some differences as the Michigan Avenue store is bigger, but the elements are the same. Those elements are built around exceptional customer experience — a shopping experience for a customer like no other.”
Holland said the new store design focuses on “highly personalized service,” as well.
“It’s more of an interaction with the customer than a transaction,” she said. “There’s not check-out stations or cash registers. Everything is done side by side with the customer. The design of the store allows us to elevate that interaction by the displays that we have in the store.”
Customers will find round café-style “learning tables” that allow for personal interactions with the AT&T retail consultant to ask questions or learn about a product or service. All retail consultants are equipped with a tablet supported by a new mobile point-of-sale system that gives ultimate flexibility for helping customers anywhere in the store.
Community tables, another part of the new AT&T design, showcase featured items and allow customers to shop and play with a specific app or product, Holland said. This space merchandises apps, accessories and devices to show customers how they can work together.
“We want customers to come in not just to shop, but to play with all the solutions that we have to offer them,” she said.
Other design elements include a Connected Experience Zone featuring “lifestyle vignettes” that offer customers a glimpse of how solutions can be used in customers’ everyday lives through categories such as music, home security and entertainment and an Explore Zone with “explore walls” that showcase AT&T’s diverse device line-up and accessories complemented by digital monitors with product information.
Holland said the store, which is five years in the making, opened for business Sept. 28 and will be holding an official grand opening Oct. 18 with important city dignitaries present.
“Any time you can celebrate the opening of a new store, especially one with a cutting-edge new retail concept in Beaumont, it’s a great day,” said Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames. “Bringing new job opportunities and new goods and services to Beaumont consumers is the type of investment that we want to celebrate as we continue to grow our local economy.”
The store is the latest example of an AT&T Texas investment that includes more than $1.0 billion through the first half of 2013 in wireless and wireline networks and more than $7.0 billion from 2010 through 2012.
The Dowlen Road location will serve the growing number of consumers relying on their wireless devices to manage their busy lives, an AT&T press release states.
“As Beaumont businesses and consumers come to rely on more and more mobile technology to communicate, announcements like this one become even more important to our future economic growth,” said Jim Rich, president, Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
AT&T has more than 117 retail locations in South Texas and was recently recognized with two significant achievements, outperforming competitors for customer service and wireless purchase experience. J.D. Power awarded AT&T the “Highest Ranked Customer Service Performance Among Full-Service Wireless Providers“ and “Highest Satisfaction with the Purchase Experience among Full Service Wireless Providers“ in their 2013, Volume 2 studies.
Beaumont store hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.att.com .