While normally TechGeek wouldn’t review a store, I had the opportunity (well, I was walking past) to take a look at the recently revamped “Telstra Discovery Store” better known as the Telstra George St store. Back in late 2014, Telstra spent $112 million dollars revamping the store to turn it into a huge “collaboration space” for Telstra staff and guests. However, there certainly isn’t an absence of technology from the store since it’s full of some really cool stuff.
Firstly, there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of large screens all around the store showing the newest technology or advertisements to attract the customers. Even outside, there’s screens to lure people into the store to take a look. The screens also have small cameras at the top to monitor people looking at the screen. According to Beau Giles, who wrote about the store on his blog, the cameras are for eye and movement tracking to record what customers are being engaged by the advertisements.
When entering, you’ll be greeted by the flagship phones and products – Apple on one side and Samsung on the other. You’ll find all the latest gear from the manufacturers with their latest creations centre stage. Some work has gone into minimising the annoying security devices placed on products to keep them safe which is great, since some security devices are way too restrictive.
Right at the door and scattered around as well are the “Tap and Take” cards. These allow you to collect information about all the products you’ve seen in store and then go home and review them in more detail. On the website (after putting in the unique card number), you’ll see information about just the products you’ve tapped in store – making that long task of trawling through a website almost effortless. You can also take the card to an employee in store and they can give you more information as well.
It’s super easy to load products onto your card as well, simply push the Tap and Take button on the screen, and hold the card over the reader for a few seconds and you’re done! The reader will glow as well to indicate that it’s ready to write to the card.
You also can’t miss the Device Lab – a huge interactive touch screen which allows you to find out more information about a device. Located around the table are dummy products such as phones or tablets which you can place down onto the touch screen and find out details about that specific phone – including specifications, performance, reviews and more. This is powered by RFID tags located on the back of the phones which the touchscreen picks up and then displays the relevant information. You can even slide the phone across the massive screen and the information will move along with it – how cool!
Another great thing is that multiple people can be using the Lab, the multitouch screen will recognise multiple taps at the same time. The Device Lab makes it easy to compare two or more different handsets since all you need to do is place the handsets side by side and then compare the information. For someone who is very “hands on” and still likes seeing and holding the product in their hands before purchase, this is a fantastic way to please them. The amount of times I’ve seen a product in store and then quickly jumped on my phone or a display computer to check reviews is countless!
Of course, a few other improvements have been made as well including using E-Ink displays to show prices for accessories and other items which means they can get updated instantly and saves paper! Additionally, “The Cellar” has all the products that the store stocks in plain site, meaning that the employee doesn’t need to leave the room to grab your new product. Telstra will now even let you sign your contract digitally. If you’re signing up to a new plan or recontracting, you’ve got the option to digitally sign the contract on a tablet and walk out sans that ream of paper.
So there it is, the new Telstra George St store. I chose to write about this since I thought it was a great example of how technology can be used in Brick and Mortar stores, instead of just completely replacing a store with an online store. It’s amazing how much technology and improve the experience in store.