... a deeply immersive in-store experience.
The AdWeek article cites the experience of an 85 year-old, self-described, “computer illiterate”, Martin Shafron, as he steps into the rotunda-like entrance of AT&T’s flagship store in the city’s high-end retail district.
Although Mr Shafron doesn’t realise it, he is in the midst of a global retail revolution, show-casing its gadgetry and pageantry from Chicago to Beijing.
As Shafron waits for one of the iPad-wielding sales associates to assist him with his first iPhone (which he’d purchased from the store the day before), he is sprinkled with what AT&T calls “innovation sounds” - best described as raindrops going pitter-patter on a digital rooftop interspersed with wind chimes producing cyber inharmonic spectra.
The highly stylised retail space offers a feast of digital eye candy competing for Mr Shafron’s attention as he waits, including an 18-foot video wall equipped with motion-sensory software on which a couple of kids are playing a game.
But although Shafron is seriously wowed by the space, he says: “More than anything, I appreciate the hands-on help.”
And such help is readily at hand thanks to the fully digitized face-to-face element customers like Shafron demand.
According to AT&T's President, Retail Paul Roth: “We want to transform the traditional website experience into the physical experience. It’s all about creating interactions rather than just transactions.”
And interacting AT&T most certainly is.
Its flagship store attracts an estimated 30,000 customers per month, many drawn in by bells and whistles like that giant interactive screen, which lights up the cityscape on Chicago's so-called Magnificent Mile.
The store has only one traditional retail counter, and the cash registers are tucked away in stylish wood cabinets.
Sales associates access the registers not with a key but via biometric fingerprinting software and not while standing behind the tills - instead sitting on a couch face-to-face with the customer.
Read the original unabridged AdWeek article.