Verizon Wireless unveiled a new retail format Tuesday, its first “Destination Store,” at Mall of America near Minneapolis.
The telecommunications giant also said it has quietly converted about 100 of its 1,700 company-owned locations into “Smart Stores,” including its store at 7604 Dodge St. in Omaha. The Smart Store format is a scaled-down version of its Destination Store.
The Destination Store allows consumers to try products intended to enhance their “mobile lifestyles.” The store features six-interactive lifestyle stations or zones inside the store, including a “Get Fit” station for tracking healthy habits; a “Have Fun” station to introduce customers to novel tech gadgets; a “Customize It” zone for adding style to smartphones; and an “Anywhere Business” zone to help small businesses and travelers.
Verizon plans eventually to convert all its company stores to Smart Stores over the next few years, said Seamus Hyland, president of the Great Plains region, including Nebraska.
The telecom plans to convert eight additional corporate-owned Omaha-area stores, including stores in Papillion, Bellevue and two Council Bluffs locations. Verizon has not announced a timeline for remodeling those locations.
“The Smart Store is a brand new concept we started the second half of this year,” Hyland said.
The Verizon store at 76th and Dodge was converted when the store moved last month from 72nd and Dodge. The 4,244-square-foot store includes three of the six lifestyle zones, including a “Get Fit” zone, an “Amplify It” zone for music on the go, and a “Home and on the Go” zone for home automation. It offers interactive areas with live demonstrations of wireless devices and accessories.
It also features a dedicated area where customers can participate in free in-store wireless workshops to learn about the ways they can use their wireless devices, both Apples and Androids, and accessories, for such tasks as tracking the number of calories burned during a workout, making sure the lights are on at home or keeping a virtual eye on the family.
One of the most popular devices is the smart “dog collar” device that allows pet owners to keep track of Rover’s location. “It’s a pet tracker” that’s also found favor with another group, Hyland said: “A lot of parents put it on a child’s backpack for safety.”