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AT&T Retail Strategy: More Than Mobile

Communications giant AT&T doesn’t operate a typical cellphone store anymore.

In its more than 2,000 physical stores, the company is rolling out interactive personalized experiences, integrating its online- and physical-store experiences, and displaying the company’s full array of services — from DirecTV to home automation services and telematics. The stores have also evolved to carry a variety of smartphone- connected products from stereo headphones to wireless speakers and wearables, including helmet-mounted GoPro cameras, fitness bands and smart watches.

To engage consumers in the store, the company has rolled out interactive elements that include lifestyle areas with working products, ample amounts of digital signage, interactive video monitors, and – in a flagship Chicago store – a holographic display, which demonstrates how smartphones and tablets control AT&T’s Digital Life home automation and security systems.

The physical stores capitalize on what AT&T said is consumers’ preference “to go online to perform ‘transactions’ and to visit a physical store for ‘interactions.’”

Elements of the in-store redesign aren’t limited just to AT&T-owned stores. “Our goal is to create a consistent look and feel for customers who visit any AT&T-branded retail location,” a spokesperson told TWICE. “You’ll see our authorized retailer locations taking elements of the new design and incorporating them into their locations over time.”

Elements of the design will also appear in the 250 AT&T shops that will appear in 250 Best Buy stores by the end of the year, all staffed by AT&T representatives.

Between AT&T-owned stores and AT&T-branded stores operated by retailers, the company’s branded storefronts number more than 5,000. All told, AT&T products and services are available through more than 12,000 retail locations across the country.

The AT&T stores “show customers how AT&T is uniquely able to provide a total connected life — home, car, TV, and wireless,” the spokesperson said.

A walkthrough of AT&T’s flagship Michigan Avenue store underscores the company’s intent to deliver a personalized, interactive experience. Besides digital signage and interactive video monitors, the store features community tables at which shoppers play with devices and accessories. Café style tables and chairs are available so sales associates can talk at length with customers. Lifestyle areas highlight such products as music accessories and smartphone-controlled home-automation and security systems.

When they enter the store, shoppers see three life-size mannequins garbed in jogging and workout clothing to highlight how mobile products play a role in managing the workouts of fitness enthusiasts. Digital signage near the front windows demonstrates how products in the store deliver entertainment and solutions said to manage everyday life.

Also up front, an interactive kiosk with holographic display shows consumers how to control and monitor lights, door locks, security systems, and other home systems from a smartphone via AT&T’s Digital Life service. In other stores, a lifestyle vignette demonstrates a smart lock, security camera, smart thermostat, and lamp plugged into a smart plug.

In an entertainment area designated by the display of a guitar, AT&T showcases and demos wireless speakers and stereo headphones. In a wearables area, smart watches and fitness bands are displayed along with men’s shirts, which underscore the wearability of the products. A helmet-mounted GoPro camera and a selfie stick are key props in a display showing consumers how they can use their smartphones to take pictures and videos and share them.

Café-style tables and chairs are laid out in the center of the store to enable consultations between customers and salespeople. And for those with a historical bent, the store features kiosks with historic artifacts, such as a brass telephone from the Alexander Graham Bell era, a wood tabletop radio, a portable transistor radio, and an iPod.