By Tom Erskine, CMO/SVP Product, One Door

20 years ago my boss told me to get a cellphone and expense it. It was an exciting moment for a young executive. A cellphone! Only 9 years after Gordon Gekko’s famous wake-up call to Bud Fox I would be one of the lucky few in the U.S. that were always connected. I visited my local Cellular One Boston store, selected a phone, selected a tariff, and then waited while they configured everything for me. 30 minutes later I made my first call from the car. And I kept it short because it cost my company $0.35 per minute.

Today, mobile devices and services have evolved beyond our wildest imagination, but the retail store format and experience hasn’t. Stores are the same brightly lit retail boxes containing associates in matching polo shirts, a ‘police line-up’ of devices and price cards, and a wall full of accessories. Deciding between the Galaxy 7 and iPhone 7 today is just like deciding between the Motorola Piper and the Nokia 6100 in 1997.

When the market was still growing, and all providers had to do to grow with it was sell more phone and tariffs, that was fine. But the market isn’t growing that way anymore, and the retail environment must change. Future growth in telecom and media will come from adoption of new services, and retail must play a crucial role in accelerating that adoption.

Telecom and media retail must become more ‘experiential’, and less ‘transactional’. It needs to become the “Theater of the future” where customers can experience and get excited about new products like the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes, and virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR). And it needs to become a learning center, where customers can learn how to get the most from their services, and get in-person access to knowledgeable staff.

In working with some of the world’s largest telecom and media companies, we’ve identified 4 tactical steps that telecom and media companies can take, immediately, to accelerate the strategic transformation of their retail stores. These thoughts and others are captured in our latest eBook “Retail as a Critical Element of Telecom and Media Success”. I hope you’ll download and read it. Just don’t try to download it to a Motorola Piper, it’ll be hard to read.