Bloomington, MN – Verizon today unveiled its answer to AT&T’s flagship retail shops, with the opening of one of its own in the Mall of America. The new shop is part of a movement to expand the market for wireless products to include an array of non-traditional connected consumer offerings.
Verizon’s new shop will carry items like DIY security and remote monitoring for the home, to popular connected entertainment items like Sphero, a smartphone-controlled ball.
Verizon has broken the store down into six “Lifestyle Zones,” which include areas where consumers can engage with the various products on display, whether that includes learning about the various mobile operating systems to testing out wireless speakers.
To be sure, flashy environments like the one Verizon opened today are a far cry from the days when operators mainly carried cell phones and cases. But for any customer still seeking a more traditional wireless retail experience, a basic Verizon Wireless store is tucked in the back behind all the gadgets.
The idea behind these wireless extravaganzas of retail shopping experiences is to bring more data-hungry devices onto the networks, while spotlighting the carrier’s role in that.
Verizon Wireless COO Marni Walden was on hand to talk about the new store and answer questions.
Walden described the front end of the new store as a way of drawing in consumers, not just Verizon customers, and showing them the breadth of connected technologies the carrier offers.
Walden said of the 1,700 company-owned Verizon retail stores, 100 had so far been made into “smart stores,” which maintain the Lifestyle Zone theme but on a less extravagant scale. Stores on the scale of the Mall of America store will soon follow in Chicago and Houston.
AT&T recently opened a similar flagship interactive retail store in Chicago.
The store’s integration of Verizon’s wireless, wireline and FiOS services was only made easier by Verizon’s recently completed buyout of Vodafone’s 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless.
Walden said that Verizon wants to showcase its network but that many of its customers don’t know how to put it all together and that the new store can help with that and add value.
The celebratory opening continues tomorrow when Selena Gomez stops by as the first customer. Walden said that more celebrity appearances will follow throughout the week.