Rosenthal thinks providers and consumers will come around when they see the effectiveness of streamlined phone retail. “I think the prospect of a store which responsibly conveys the strength of each carrier is very, very appealing. If you make the customer happy, you’ll have a very powerful channel.”
IMO’s people-pleasing strategy is multifaceted. Since there’s no way around a sit-down consultation to hammer out all the details of a two-year phone contract, the store environment is designed to make the time pleasant. Customers sit at a comfortable bar and are even offered free sodas and herbal tea. A special area in the back of the store is kid-friendly, with beanbags and a 40-inch plasma TV playing DVDs to keep the little people occupied with something other than punching numbers on live handsets.