AT&T turns Michigan Avenue flagship into a museum

AT&T has unveiled the redesign of its flagship retail store on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. Part of the store, which opened in August of 2012, was converted into a museum in efforts to connect consumers to the past while shopping.

AT&T's new addition is intended to follow the trending retail habit of launching compelling concept stores, giving customers unique experiences that go beyond merchandise and customer service. Other retailers that have recently opened concept shops in Chicago include Warby Parker, Urban Outfitters and Walgreens.

AT&T's "Journey of Innovation" is a digital exhibit that tells the story of communication, from the original patent for the first telephone to the luxuries of modern mobile technology.

"Our goal is to deliver a personalized experience from the moment our customers enter the store made possible through our own interactive technology, intelligent systems and store design," said Jonathan Lander, director of visual merchandising and strategic retail, AT&T. "We are continually exploring new ways to provide our customers with an extraordinary customer experience and innovating to make shopping more fun. The 'Journey of Innovation' experience at the Michigan Avenue flagship is an example of how we're making shopping more personal and engaging for customers."

Visitors of the store are greeted by a tablet that serves as a virtual tour guide as they walk along a digital gallery wall and interact with video and photo content. Crucial moments in AT&T's history are conveyed through a delicate mixture of augmented reality, facts and touch-enabled screens.

Artifacts on display include a replica of Thomas Watson's notes recording the first ever phone call, patent documents for the first telephone, a replica of the first transistor, and original models of the first and second generations of car phones.

So, what does the future hold for AT&T retail stores? "In 2012, we broke the mold of traditional telecom retailing when we opened our first flagship brand store on Michigan Avenue," Lander said. "In 2013, we began rolling out some elements of the Michigan Avenue store design to locations across the country—what is now known as our 'Store of the Future' concept. Our focus was to create stores that are highly personal, emotionally engaging and integrated with digital. We looked at how to better meet the needs of consumers while expressing the AT&T brand, products and services in meaningful and engaging ways."

For more:
-See this AT&T press release

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