Edition #22: How To Leverage Furniture and Sensory Engagement for Superior Customer Experiences

In this article, Will Gibson examines how the right store fixtures and design elements appeal to customers' emotions and elevate their experience.

Aren’t telecoms stores all the same? A bit 1990. A bit dull. Very transactional. The world over, they are the same. Why?

In an increasingly digital world, the physical retail experience MUST evolve to stay relevant and competitive.

High-value retail businesses, particularly in the telecoms sector, need to invest in superior customer experiences to drive growth and loyalty. One effective strategy involves re-imagining the store environment to be more inviting and comfortable, moving away from purely transactional interactions.

In this edition of Telco Talk, I’ll explore how high-value retail businesses can benefit from such investments and provide examples from various industries that have successfully adopted this strategy.

Key Strategies To Create Superior Customer Experiences

In the post-COVID retail landscape, businesses are grappling with slow rebounds and a lack of innovation. Traditional store designs and transactional approaches are no longer sufficient to attract and retain customers. Instead, there is a growing need for retail spaces that offer a unique and memorable experience. Here are two important ways to encourage customers to spend more time in your stores and engage more deeply with your brand.

1. Encourage Dwell Time With Flexible and Comfortable Seating

One of the key elements in creating a superior customer experience is the store layout, particularly seating arrangements. Traditional small desks and fixed seating areas create a transactional environment that can be off-putting to customers. In contrast, flexible and comfortable seating options allow customers to relax and feel at ease. This promotes longer dwell times and more meaningful interactions with staff.


EE, the mobile arm of UK telecoms giant British Telecom, have recently set a benchmark in their market by investing in store designs that prioritize customer comfort. Their new flagship stores in Gateshead and Bristol feature modular seating, suede sofas, and dedicated waiting areas where customers can enjoy a coffee while they wait. This setup not only makes the store environment more inviting but also facilitates more relaxed and engaging conversations between customers and staff.

2. Move Away From Transactional Retail and Create a Right Brain State

The shift towards a more experiential retail environment is essential in distinguishing physical stores from online shopping, which is inherently transactional. By creating a space that encourages customers to engage their right brain (associated with creativity and emotion), retail stores can foster a deeper connection with their customers.

To move customers into a right brain state, retail stores should focus on sensory engagement and storytelling. This can be achieved through thoughtful store design, ambient music, engaging displays, and interactive elements.


EE's integration of gaming zones provides a unique and engaging experience that sets them apart from competitors. We talk all about gaming in one of our past editions of Telco Talk, check it out if you’re interested!

Other Real-World Examples

There are lots of great examples of these strategies that are being used by retailers across various industries. Here are a few more that have successfully implemented strategies to enhance their customer experience through comfortable and flexible store designs.

Starbucks: The Third Place Concept

Starbucks has long been a pioneer in creating a welcoming environment where customers can relax and socialize. Their "third place" concept - neither home nor work - encourages customers to linger, fostering a sense of community and belonging. Comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, and a relaxed atmosphere have been central to their success.

Apple Stores: Engaging and Interactive

Apple Stores are renowned for their sleek, open layouts and interactive spaces. By allowing customers to freely explore products and receive personalized assistance from staff, Apple creates an engaging and immersive shopping experience. Their use of flexible seating and large communal tables encourages customers to spend more time in the store.

Practical Steps To Create Engaging Retail Stores

Telcos that are looking to enhance their customer experience should follow these steps:

  • Redesign Store Layouts: Incorporate flexible and comfortable seating arrangements that invite customers to relax and spend more time in the store.
  • Focus on Sensory Engagement: Use ambient music, pleasant scents, and engaging visual displays to create a right brain state.
  • Train Staff for Superior Service: Equip staff with the skills to engage customers in meaningful conversations, moving beyond purely transactional interactions.
  • Offer Amenities: Provide amenities such as free Wi-Fi, coffee, and water to enhance the customer experience and encourage longer dwell times.
  • Create Interactive Zones: Introduce interactive elements such as gaming zones, product demos, and workshops to engage customers.


Investing in superior customer experiences is crucial for high-value retail businesses, like telcos, that looking to grow and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. By adopting flexible and comfortable seating arrangements and creating environments that move customers into a right brain state, telcos can foster deeper connections and drive loyalty (and profits). EE's success with their new store designs serves as a compelling example of how these strategies can be effectively implemented in telecoms retail.

Are you ready to create a more inviting experience and need some guidance? Drop me a line, I’m happy to help!

Offering insight and concrete solutions for telcos looking to take their business to the next level.

You Might Also Like.