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Devices/smartphones

Pics: Verizon's Chicago Destination Store

CHICAGO -- Verizon is hoping to encourage Chicagoans and visitors to buy more mobile devices and accessories, or at least spend hours playing with them, with the unveiling of its largest "destination" store in the Windy City this week.

The carrier opened the doors to the store, its second destination store after the Mall of America in Minnesota, on prime Michigan Avenue corner real estate over the weekend. The two-storey building houses all the smartphones and accessories you could want, along with a bevy of devices consumers might not realize Verizon Wireless offers -- things like connected soccer balls, drones, FitBits and keyholes.


Want to know more about mobile devices? Check out our dedicated devices/smartphones content channel here on Light Reading.


The store is similar in scope -- and location -- to rival AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s own experience store, opened over two years ago, but it has even more of an interactive, "hey, why don't you stay awhile to escape the cold" kind of vibe to it. (See Photos: AT&T's New Chicago Playland.)

Click on the image below to launch a short slide show of our visit to Verizon's new digs.

Drone Zone
The most popular part of the Verizon store is already the drone zone, in which visitors can try out drones in the air or on the ground in a contained area. Employees said they have already sold several to men who weren't buying them for their kids...
The most popular part of the Verizon store is already the drone zone, in which visitors can try out drones in the air or on the ground in a contained area. Employees said they have already sold several to men who weren't buying them for their kids...

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Susan Fourtané 11/20/2014 | 2:38:35 AM
Virtual environment walks So, it means that with Verizon's FitBit a new era of living and acting in virtual environments is already possible, different from the vistual environments of the likes of Second Life.

Now enjoying a brisky walk while the weather outside is completely awful is possible. Just add birds soundtracks, artificial smell of flowers, and you are done to enjoy your perfect walk. :D No more excuses for not doing minimal exercise.

-Susan
Phil_Britt 11/19/2014 | 8:26:44 PM
Re: Verizon experiences Regarding the rent, I don't see any way this store as a stand-alone is profitable. But if Verizon runs several events there and otherwise maximizes its use of real estate, it could be a go-to destination like some other downtown spots and can be used primarily as part of the company's marketing mix rather than a way to make money on its own.
Mitch Wagner 11/19/2014 | 6:30:57 PM
Re: Verizon experiences Soccer balls and doorknobs are two things that do not need to be smart. 

I love the first photo with the drone in flight.

Regarding the guy in shorts when it's 10 degrees out: I've lived in Southern California so long I'm a cold-weather wimp. When the temperature plunges below 50 degrees I dress like I'm exploring Antarctica.

I have to admit accessory walls are like catnip to me. Can't miss checking out the cases and such wherever I go.

Back to the smart doorknobs: What do they do, other than assisting on opening and closing doors?
sarahthomas1011 11/19/2014 | 3:18:42 PM
Re: Verizon experiences That was my question too -- the rent for the location they are at cannot be cheap! 

And, I also thought the soccer ball-kicking station was just a gimmick, but the balls were for sale...
KBode 11/19/2014 | 12:38:48 PM
Re: Verizon experiences I for one did not know Verizon sold smart soccer balls. :) I've always wondered if these stores are worth the real estate costs over the smaller locations that offer less glitz but still probably sell a fair share of handsets.
sarahthomas1011 11/19/2014 | 8:54:39 AM
Verizon experiences I heard one customer saying he was on his way to Apple, but saw Verizon's store, so decided to stop in. Given its proximity, I bet it will get a lot of cases like that. I thought it was interesting, too, that there wasn't an emphasis on customer support. It was really all about checking stuff out. I'm sure that will lead to sales, but I bet they'll also get a lot of people just hanging out, recharging their phones and playing with the drones...
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