We have all had the experience – attracted to an object in a store or museum, only to be quickly reproached, Don’t Touch! In this era of high connectivity enabled by pretty sophisticated electronics, touching and experiencing is a must for the just right fit. This is the very idea behind AT&T’s new retail approach, which is less about “traditional” retailing and more about active experience and exploration.

A November article on the Retail Customer Experience web site — What AT&T’s redesign can teach you about your stores — outlines the concept behind the transformation of AT&T’s 2300 stores across the U.S. The idea is simple and refreshingly different: to create an environment where customers can discover and experience products and service firsthand and engage one-on-one with people who can help.

As the article notes, AT&T’s new store paradigm builds on the experience of retailers such as Apple, allowing customers to explore possibilities in a more holistic context, and is built more on a playroom concept than a museum model. In a world where technology and products evolve at a feverish clip, the physical store demonstrates its true value – the three dimensional experience. Customers discover and explore the newest devices up close, while learning some of the lesser-known product features–that can be painful to learn on your own– from well trained and professional staff.

That is definitely my kind of shopping – up close and personal. For more retail innovations, see att.com/retailbusiness.