It has been a little more than 6 months since we took that long trip down to Michigan to bring you breaking news, photos and video of the only existing store that caters solely to the needs of BlackBerry users.
The BlackBerry Store, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan is a sight to behold. With full cooperation from RIM, Wireless Giant has built a very stylish building and lined the shelves with every make and model of BlackBerry that is currently available. In addition to all the drool inducing gadgetry on display, there is also a tantalizing buffet of batteries, cases, and all manner of accessories laid out across a huge wall on one end of the store.
The staff at the BlackBerry store are rigorously trained and are up to speed on all the minute details of each device. They can easily explain the nuances of the various handset/carrier relationships and help any level of BlackBerry user feel comfortable and informed right away. There is even a BlackBerry Training Room on site where various levels of training for new and existing BlackBerry owners was soon to take place.
When we first spoke with Grady Wicker (awesome guy! go get a BlackBerry from him now!), the BlackBerry Store was only a couple weeks old. While the foot traffic was decent and they saw a wide range of demographics coming through the door, they were still trying to define their customer base.
The question remained however, exactly how was the store going to fit into the community and how were they going to best be able to help BlackBerry owners?
Revisiting Farmington Hills
Unfortunately, we were not able to take the scenic drive all the way down to Farmington Hills for this update, so instead we decided to reach out to Todd Shaya from wireless Giant to get the scoop on what is going on in the store now.
On the list of questions are:
- What kind of foot traffic are you seeing now that you have been open for almost 6 months?
- Have your demographics changed at all as far as who is coming to the store?
- what type of training is being offered via the on site training facilities?
- Are there any plans to open up another location of the BlackBerry Store?
What kind of foot traffic does the BlackBerry Store see?
When we first visited the BlackBerry Store, we saw a pretty steady flow of people passing through its doors. Enough to make it difficult to shoot video without capturing anyones face in it. While I am sure most people at the time were just popping in to see what the store was all about, the traffic was regular and everyone seemed impressed.
Todd Says: The good folks at the BlackBerry Store have seen a significant increase in foot traffic since they opened the doors to the public. This increase has been attributed to word of mouth, great referrals from satisfied customers and a little bit of targeted marketing.
What are the demographic makeup of your current customer base?
At the time of the initial visit, Grady spoke to us a little bit about what kind of customers they were seeing coming into the BlackBerry Store and who the ultimate purchasers were.
Due to the short amount of time that the store had actually been in existence, it was hard to nail down a specific demographic that the store attracted. Grady had stated that they were seeing everyone come through from the expected business men to the soccer mom demographic, teens, and young professionals.
The question is, how much of that traffic was just curiosity and what are the crowds looking like today, almost six months later.
Todd Says: The cross section has not changed since our last visit. It is not uncommon to see a business man/woman checking out the latest models of BlackBerry right alongside a mom and her child and a few teenagers.
what type of training is being offered via the on site training facilities?
With the BlackBerry Store being so new to the area at the time of our visit, they really did not have a clear vision of what the wants and needs of their customers would be. The team decided to hold off on creating a specific “course offering” and instead waited to see what their customers were asking for.
The outcome of this decision was the creation of “Device Training 101″.
Device Training 101 is a two hour interactive training session which is held on-site in their training facilities. The course consists of hands on training in an intimate environment, where Wireless Giant representatives will demonstrate how to use the many great features of your new BlackBerry device.
As far as pricing is concerned, the workshop is absolutely FREE to individuals who have purchased their BlackBerry from the BlackBerry Store.
If an individual has purchased their device from an external dealer, the workshop carries a price tag of $49.99. This is however, offset by a “Customer Loyalty” coupon worth 10% off any accessory purchase.
Are there any plans to open up another location of the BlackBerry Store?
Todd Says: The great response that the Farmington Hills location has received in the short time that it has been opened has encouraged them to discuss the possibility of more BlackBerry Stores being set up. Wireless Giant and RIM are currently evaluating all the data in order to determine if a new store will be viable and if so, in what location.
Things are great and getting better every day
Well it appears that the BlackBerry Store is avoiding the pit falls of their predecessors. They continue to build steam and are possibly looking to expand their operations.
This is a great sign for everybody involved (including all of us BBGeeks) and definitely an indication that the BlackBerry is here to stay.
Congratulations to the entire team at the BlackBerry Store for doing such a great job and we hope your next 6 months show similar growth in popularity amongst BlackBerry enthusiasts.