retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Clark Kent and Melanie Daniels now have some place to go.

Wealth365 reports that having been pretty much made irrelevant and virtually invisible by the growth of the mobile phone business, “the phone booth — or at least a variation of it — is making a modest comeback.”

According to the story, “When the women-only club and work space The Wing opened its first location in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan in October of 2016, the interior featured marble tables, pink velvet couches, and one small, windowless, reflective glass-doored room dubbed the Phone Booth. One year later, when another location of The Wing opened in Soho, eight built-in, glass-doored call rooms were included in the design.”

And, “Five new, maple-sided, portable, modular Zenbooth phone booths were installed late last year at the 17th Street headquarters of Gizmodo Media Group, the home of several websites, including Deadspin, Lifehacker, Jezebel and Splinter.” It isn’t enough, and so the company is ordering more.

It is an interesting object lesson. The revival, of course, is not of pay phones, but of phone booths … because companies are beginning to understand that these days, people don’t need access to communications technology, but they sometimes do need access to privacy.

That’s a key insight, and an example of how companies and institutions can look for consumer pain points to deliver a value proposition. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to see a resurgence of phone booths all over the place, but it is a good reminder that sometimes, when tweaked and rethought and repositioned, just a bit, what once was old can be new again, and relevant.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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