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Mobile Retail Special 310316

Retail Special 50% of people that came into the first Discovery centre in Maidenhead were non-customers. They wouldn’t have ever walked into our store before, but they’re more likely to walk into our store now when they’re in that transactional window Jessica Tompkinson, community engagement and Discovery manager, Three In recent years this has started to change, with retailers making greater efforts to innovate when it comes to store design. In 2014, EE hired design consultancy GOODD to redesign its stores – with a brief to ‘increase service and customer interaction’, focused elements were devised to engage the customer and pull staff to the front of the store. Since then other retailers have sought to explore further the possibilities that different layouts might offer. Vodafone has used a modular design within its newly refitted stores, which allows the network to add sections in a responsive way. This enables it to create an environment that can cater to a range of different customers, as the brand’s UK head of retail Jon Shaw explains: ‘All of our refit stores are modular, so we can change and swap stuff out quite quickly. I could put a business lounge in stores if there was a demand for it – or a VR zone if we wanted to do that. It gives us flexibility and allows us to respond to our customers’ demands fast. ‘It’s allowed us to push the boundaries, not just in the UK, but for the Vodafone Group. The new stores allow us to accommodate all our customer types; consumer, business and enterprise. If you are part of Vodafone you can come into any of our stores and we’ll be able to look after you regardless.’ The internet has transformed and continues to change retail. Responding to this is critical, and it’s another area that is influencing the new types of retail environment. Vodafone’s newly refitted shop in Croydon attempts to give a web experience to the customer in-store, as Jon Shaw explains: ‘We’ve been working on an omni-channel approach. It’s going to attempt to show how we can use the website more and how can it be more customer friendly. Croydon will be the first to try clickand collect too. It’ll have a different look and feel, and an experience that is similar to online.’ Carphone Warehouse is another retailer that is planning to use a new design to increase the time people spend within its shops. As well as combining Carphone Warehouse stores into larger 3-in-1 outlets with Currys and PC World, the business is also planning on refreshing the Carphone Warehouse portfolio. Andrew Harrison, Carphone Warehouse’s deputy CEO, explains that a shift in the type of contracts that are now sold in store was pushing it to re-think both design and approach: ‘Within the whole market we’ve seen quite a significant shift to contract and people taking out agreements. This by its very nature takes a bit longer. It’s moved away from the grab and go pre-pay, which of course plays into our hands. This is an important decision for people – now we spend time with them getting them their phone, setting them up, establishing the services we offer. More inspiring and comfortable environments are part of this.’ Hiring in a different way Changes to store design are only useful if a business has a set of employees who can maximise the potential benefits the new format offers. Sitting a customer down on a sofa with a complementary cup of coffee is only part of changing the environment. The variety of staff that work in a mobile phone store can be very We wanted to find people that maybe hadn’t considered a career in mobile retail before. We’re incredibly proud of our brand, but we knew to a certain group of people we might just be seen as a mobile phone shop Bridget Lea, UK stores director, O2 6 mobile 31 March 2016 www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Mobile Retail Special 310316
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