April 03, 2013

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A Touchy-Feely Experience: Behind The Strategy Of TWC’s New Experience Stores

The doors are open for business at 14 TWC Experience Stores

Please feel free to touch the merchandise. That’s the unofficial motto at Time Warner Cable’s new “Experience Store” in Plano, Texas, where during a recent afternoon, customers found themselves strolling through a virtual product playground of TWC Apps, video and internet speeds.

The Plano store is one of 14 brand-new stores that have opened nationwide – with more on the way. It’s all part of an initiative by the company to offer a “hands-on” local retail presence that encourages customers to walk, talk, touch and feel their way through the company’s products.

“Not everyone wants to test, shop or purchase products and services over the phone and internet,” explains Blaine Altaffer, Group Vice President of Sales for Time Warner Cable. “We want our customers to play, enjoy the products and not stress out.”

TWC organized a focus group of customers before launching the new concept. What they found is that customers wanted more than a traditional walk-up window for paying bills or exchanging equipment. They wanted more personal service combined with an open floor in which to explore products.

TWC's Experience Stores include Internet and charging stations.

Inside the new stores, customers are greeted immediately by a TWC employee who logs their names into an electronic queue. While waiting for service, customers can check out TWC’s different products and services.

“In the old days, customers feared if they wandered around a store, they would lose their place in line,” Altaffer says. “Now they have something fun to do while they wait.”

TV monitors, set-top boxes, iPads and digital phones are placed throughout the stores, allowing visitors different ways to discover new products such as Time Warner Cable’s new home management and security system, IntelligentHome. They can also uncover the answers to such questions as:  How does my DVR work?

In order to measure a store’s progress, Time Warner Cable tracks customer traffic as well as the number of times they test certain products. If a patron surfs On Demand or picks up an iPad to try out the TV App, the data is recorded and can be used to make adjustments to enhance the experience.

While the new stores offer a gallery of gadgets to play with, they will continue to offer traditional services. Customers can still stop by to trade in their set-top boxes or to pay their bills at an electronic kiosk.

With 14 “Experience Stores” up and running and another nine stores scheduled to open nationwide by the end of the year, customers are quickly learning that TWC’s products and services are more than just a cable connection. They’re also a connection to a brand new experience that gives customers something they can wrap their head and hands around.

The following TWC “Experience Stores” are now open for business:

Wilmington, NC
Cary, NC
Jamaica, NY
Albany, NY
Racine, WI
Laredo, TX
Plano, TX
Newark, OH
Springfield, OH
Northland, MO
Overland Park, KS
Glendora, CA
Westminster, CA
Torrance, CA

Opening soon:

San Bernardino, CA
Eagle Rock, CA
Mesquite, TX
Beverly Connection, CA

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