As a member of Telstra Influential programs, I was invited to Telstra flagship store launch in Sydney last year. The store was a huge open space filled with technology hubs, devices, accessories, screens, and more than you can think of. A plan was on its way to open a similar one in Melbourne.
After months of preparation, Telstra Melbourne CBD flagship store, named the “Melbourne Discovery Store” is now open to public today. I was invited for the launch yesterday night, where I could get a sneak preview of what’s inside and what the fuzz is all about.
You will be thrilled by the store, even if you are not a Telstra customer.
In fact, this might be the only store where the focus is not really to sell stuffs to you. Telstra Melbourne Discovery Store is more like a community, technology hub.
The flagship store (located between Swanston and Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD) is designed to help the community in embracing technology and innovation. At the corner of the store, Telstra has allocated a space called “Master Class” – where technology sessions will be held for those who are interested to learn. The topics will be different each time (such as how to take the best photo using your smartphone or about online security, to name a few of the possibilities) but best of all, it’s free to attend. I was told that they aim to have a few sessions in a day, but I guess it will depend on demands and interests.
Just want to come and chill? Go for it. On the upper floor, there are lounges and tables set up for anyone to do so. You can just come to study or work with your laptop. While you are working, you can also charge your phone – there are powerboards with USB slots ready to be used, anytime you like.
Or, listen to this. There are also secure storage lockers with charging facilities in the locker available inside the store. Low on battery? Come in and leave your smartphone inside these lockers to charge. You are free to even leave the store and come back a few hours later. Yes, I’m serious. There is no fee charged, and again, you don’t need to be a Telstra customer to enjoy this treatment. I was told you only need to show the staff your ID, to make sure that no one can come and claim somebody else’s phone.
You have the passcodes, but the staff also has a master passcode in case you’ve forgotten them (hence, why they need your ID in case this happens).
Don’t want to be disturbed? Head off to these small pods with sound insulation for some semi-private time to concentrate.
But of course, this is a Telstra Store. Therefore, there are Telstra products to sell such as the new Telstra TV, Foxtel services, and also smartphone plans (though I was told repeatedly that selling is not the main objective of having this store). Tables with high-resolution touch screen have been set up to make it more intuitive for you to browse for the right smartphone and plans.
But of course, most customers who come on the day may not decide what to get on the spot. Rather than bringing home brochures or handwritten notes, Telstra has come up with these innovative cards stacked on the tables. These cards (free to grab) actually act like an empty catalogue, your personal catalogue. See something you like on the screen? Simply tap your card onto the terminal to save the information to be viewed again later. So for example, you may want to save the info of a few smartphones you like and their respective Telstra plans.
When you’ve reached home, you can visit telstra.com/mystorevisit and enter your card number (located at the back of each card). All the information you saved earlier will be accessible through a web browser. You can come another day with your card and use it to store more information (or, grab a new one free of charge).
If you can’t decide on a smartphone to get, these touch-enabled screens can certainly help you out. They allow you to place a smartphone demo model on the surface, which will then display interactive information about the phone. Place another phone and you can quickly compare each phone visually. Neat.
Apart from the usual phone accessories. Telstra has gone further. They now display and sell other techie gadgets like wearables, smart home solutions (like the Philips Hue system or the Belkin Wemo), headphones, speakers, drones, connected bags, and more.
And oh, have I told you that there is free coffee inside the store, made by a proper barista? Each time a coffee is made for a customer, Telstra will do a donation to a charity organisation, Wise Foundation.
There are more than 1500 devices in the store with 36 HD screens offering information on products and services to customer (according to Telstra). But more importantly, Telstra Melbourne Discovery Store is all about creating a community hub to introduce new technology and innovation to Melbournians. But I’m sure Telstra won’t mind if some walk-in customers buy a thing or two from them.
Definitely encourage you to come while you wait on a tram, a friend, or just to check the new store out!