Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Business

AT&T opens new 'Store of the Future' in Tampa

TAMPA — AT&T wants customers to know it isn't just about cellphones.

It's also about home security systems, photo scanners and headphones — all connected with the touch of a smartphone.

To better highlight all its products, AT&T has designed a new retail store devoted to people's mobile lifestyles. Displays show how products can be incorporated into everyday lives at work and at home.

The Tampa Bay area's first "Store of the Future" opens Tuesday at 1812 N West Shore Blvd., near International Plaza in Tampa. It's the fourth store of its kind in Florida and 20th nationwide.

At 3,950 square feet, the store is about double the size of a traditional AT&T store with more space for testing products and interacting with the sales team. Much like an Apple store, one of the most successful retailers nationwide, AT&T's Store of the Future has no checkout counter or cash registers. Consultants circulate through the store with handheld devices.

"It's a much warmer experience for our customers," said Susan Boothe, senior merchandising manager for AT&T, which has 120 stores in Florida. "Our focus is to home in on the customer experience."

The store carries products not typically found at other AT&T stores, from the Miroir mini projector to leather phone cases by Col. Littleton. Want a Beats Pill in pink? It probably has it.

Products are displayed by category in different zones and pavilions. There's a music area with headphones, Jamboxes and speakers, and another for home security systems that control locks and lights through a smartphone.

AT&T spent two years developing the concept and incorporated many of the features in its flagship store that opened on Chicago's Michigan Avenue in 2012. Teak wood accents, high-definition screens and community tables create an inviting, non-store-like feel.

AT&T is rolling out the new stores nationwide but has no immediate plans for others in the Tampa Bay area. While expected to boost sales, the new stores cost significantly more than a smaller, traditional store.

Located next to the new Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, Tampa's Store of the Future will replace nearby locations at International Plaza and WestShore Plaza. Those stores are closing March 31.

AT&T's other Florida Stores of the Future are in Miami, Orlando and Jupiter.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

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