Verizon Transforms Retail Stores Into Rec Rooms for Tech Geeks

 

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Few people look forward to their visits to retail stores run by their wireless carrier. Every two years, they stop in to get a discounted phone in exchange for a contract, and unless the screen cracks a year in, that’s about it. The stores generally don’t encourage hanging out; most don’t offer seating unless you’re next to a sales terminal. Now Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. carrier, is trying to remake its retailers as rec  rooms for tech geeks, giving them a place to spend idle hours playing with RC cars or digital DJ equipment.

On Tuesday, Verizon Wireless opened a 9,715-square-foot “destination store” at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. The company says it plans to open several similar outlets and is also starting to remodel more than 1,700 existing stores across the country, replacing cash registers with tablets and grouping products into departments, such as fitness gadgets and music accessories. Dead center in the new layouts are common spaces where employees offer tutorials. The one thing that’s harder to find in the redesigned Verizon store is a phone. At a remodeled outlet in Bridgewater, N.J., they’re relegated to a wall in the back. Read more...

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