AT&T executives faced a challenging conundrum in how to create engagement with, and market to shoppers in-store, the kind of product that can't be seen, heard or touched.
How they met and beat that challenge (with a significant helping hand from digital signage technology) in their flagship store was the subject of a panel discussion led by AT&T execs at this year's Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit in San Diego.
During this week's RCEES, AT&T's Amanda Collins and Lindsay Wadelton led a presentation on the company's store design challenge and its Magnificent Mile solution.
As the Chicago flagship store's Customer Experience Manager, Wadelton began the session by asking the audience what came to mind when they thought of AT&T, and expectedly, most of the room responded with thoughts of telephone lines and smartphones.
"The brand is age-old but focused on evolution," Wadelton said. "We're not just the old phone company, but people didn't know everything that AT&T was working on."
In order to reshape consumer perception of the former Southwestern Bell Corporation, the experience store was nestled between high-end and everyday brands on the famed commercial street that attracts some 66,000 visitors on a typical Saturday.
Visitors to the store can learn about various apps in the Explorer Lounge on interactive "apps tables," and in the Apps Bar, "app-tenders" serve up one-on-one and group demos which are also displayed on multiple digital signage displays on the Apps Wall. An 18-foot high Connect Wall digital signage video wall shows interactive content and product information, visible to the entire store and passersby.
"The goal with this area was to have people walking away knowing something that they didn't know before," Wadelton said.
The store also features products, apps and accessories organized and showcased in the Lifestyle Boutiques, including Get Fit, Be Productive, Share Your Life and Chicagoland, which includes local apps and Chicago-themed accessories exclusive to the AT&T Michigan Avenue store.
The store also aims to educate shoppers on AT&T's various products for home security and automation, entertainment, music and automobiles at the Experience Platform. Customers can see how AT&T Digital Life services can enable them to control their home using AT&T wireless devices with a demo in the Family Life area. The Street Smart area features a 2012 Nissan Leaf and shows the future of automotive connectivity, safety and efficiency.
"The connected car lets customers know that we are developing technology that will change their life," Wadelton said.
The presentation also focused on the importance of the store employee. Wadelton explained that they recruit nationally and position each associate based on their unique individual strenghts. She showed an employee-made video that oozed enthusiasm from the store's workers. At the end, one employee proudly boasts, "The store isn't a store, it's an experience."
Check out the video below released by AT&T during the launch of the experience store that shows multiple video walls installed in the store and more interactive digital signage technology: