If you’re a Verizon customer who happens to live into Wichita, things will be looking a little different the next time you head into the Verizon store in NewMarket Square. The company has transformed it into a “smart store,” which is the brainchild of a partnership with retail experience designer Chute Gerdeman. While the phrase “smart store” fills our minds with images of robots handing out things like personal teleporters, Verizon’s idea of what makes a store smart is a little more tame.
Instead of robots, we’ve still got sales people, and instead of personal teleporters, smartphones and tablets will be on display. The goal of these smart stores is to show customers the various ways mobile devices can improve their lives. Placed throughout the store are a number of “lifestyle zones,” each showing customers how they can use mobile technology day-to-day. Each zone will allow customers to try out the devices on display, giving them a hands-on demonstration that could potentially offer new ways to use these handsets and slates.
Just as well, the sales people no longer need to wait behind a counter, as they’ve been outfitted with tablets so they can roam the floor and answer any customer questions without being tethered to a computer. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, especially if Verizon manages to convince a few folks who are on-the-fence that smartphones and tablets do have practical applications and aren’t necessarily just expensive toys. This is the first store to pop up in Wichita, and only the second in Kansas, so these smart stores are certainly few and far between in the sunflower state.
For that matter, they’re few and far between in the US, as there are currently only 100 of them across the country. It won’t be that way for long, though, as Verizon has plans to upgrade all 1,700 of its stores to this new concept. We’ll have to see if this idea ultimately ends up working out for Verizon, but the results so far must be pretty encouraging, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be seeing the company going all in and converting every last one of its stores. Do you have one of these smart stores near where you live?