AT&T is revamping its retail strategy in grand style, with a new 10,000-square-foot flagship store on Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" that will show off not just phones and tablets, but fitness applications and even "smartcar" features, Bloomberg reports. Apple comparisons are inevitable, but "we are very different," one executive says. "In their stores, the product is the hero. This store is all about the experience." That includes a sales staff that's Apple-level attentive: Customers are greeted within 10 seconds of entering the store's LED-lit atrium.
There's an "App Lounge" where customers can try out Android and iOS apps on giant monitors, and an "App-Bar" where an "App-Tender" will recommend apps to you "like your local barista," the manager tells Mark Wilson of Fast Company. The vibe is so casual that there aren't even cash registers; employees ring you up via mobile terminals. "If the Apple Store feels like a modern museum that you're free to touch," Wilson writes, "AT&T's flagship feels more like a rich person's basement loaded with toys." (Read more AT&T stories.)