Experience Stores: No More Grumpy Cingular Reps?

Experience Stores: No More Grumpy Cingular Reps?

I've written a bit here before about experience stores and The movement by mobile handset maufacturers like Nokia, Samsung and soon Apple toward this model of direct retail. An article in the New York Times yesterday discussed the phenomenon a bit further. It focuses mainly on Samsung's enormous and somewhat empty experience store at Columbus Circle in New York City, and talks about how retailers are using the experience store model to allow customers to see more complex technology in situ, play with it with the assistance of knowledgable staff, and get a more immersive feeling of the brand.

In the Nokia stores, for example, a shopper can try out high end headphones attached to a mobile with MP3, take a picture with a new cameraphone and send it to a printer nearby, and other similar "road-test" activities. The more complex and function-packed the device, the greater the need to actually try it out in a safe environment rather than suffer manual rage at home later. And after all, if you are going to drop $800 on a pocketful of hardware, you kind of want to know what it does.

What Apple started, many major electronics producers are following, though they have yet to bring the "experience" up to the same level. Meanwhile, operators will have to adapt and hopefully bring in more trained staff and better shopping environments so the high-end customer doesn't get stuck waiting in line behind people there just to buy a top-up card, only to amuse themselves with broken and disabled dummy equipment.

| March 20th, 2007 | Posted in Retailing |

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