No cash registers. No high counters with clerks on one side and customers on the other. Those were the first things to go when AT&T designed a new genre of cell phone store for Florida.
The first “Store of the Future” will open April 1 in Tampa at 1812 N. Westshore Blvd. Instead, AT&T staffers will wander the sales floor with iPads, and take payment if necessary anywhere need be.
“We want to make things more personal for guests,” said Robert Foust, area retail sales manager for AT&T. “We’ll be standing right next to you with an iPad where you can see the screen — nothing is hidden.” What’s more, areas are broken out into genre. One for smart watches. One for home automation systems. Another for family devices like Amber Alert beacons.
This is the fourth “Future” prototype store in Florida, but others are coming, and AT&T will slowly convert other existing stores. Such open floor plan stores are a hot trend in retail merchandising. Apple has gone this route for years in its stores. Verizon has a similar lifestyle-rather-than-product concept store in Carrollwood.
Perhaps the most jolting change for local AT&T customers is yet to come. AT&T will soon start closing down some older-style stores in the area, beginning with the AT&T store at International Plaza and the store at Westshore Plaza. The theory being customers should congregate at the new experience store, not the old.