Mobile retailer Fonehouse is on the hunt for more b2b dealers as it pushes into the unified comms market.
The company has signed up 10 b2b dealers and 10 franchise retail partners to sell b2b deals since it launched its offering early last year. It now plans to expand the service to offer a wider unified comms solution.
Speaking to Mobile, Fonehouse MD Clive Bayley said: ‘We will slowly add other services, starting with what we know. We are currently adding broadband and we will look at adding fixed services, video conferencing and other options as we develop it.’
Fonehouse’s 10 b2b dealers are from the mobile industry but the company is keen to take on IT resellers too. However, Bayley is cautious about putting a figure on how many b2b dealers and franchise partners the company plans to take on this year.
He said: ‘It’s not about numbers, it’s all about quality. We are interested in anyone with a customer base who wants to sell mobile and if they are good at that we want them, whether that’s only one or 100.’
Bayley (pictured) said dealers needed to be ‘enthusiastic, determined and have the ability to sell’. He added: ‘We will then back them up with a full service, giving them all the support they want.’
Fonehouse b2b contracts are available on Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone and indirectly on O2 via IT reseller Interchange. Bayley said the company’s partnership with Interchange opened the door to the introduction of further unified comms solutions.
Fonehouse’s move into b2b was largely inspired by its franchise partners, according to Bayley. ‘We have a lot of entrepreneurial franchise partners who are really close to the local community and keen to sell to the local business community as well.’
The company is also broadening its accessories range, recently launching a Fonehouse-branded electrical range that includes car chargers, mains chargers, memory sticks and multiple travel chargers. Bayley said: ‘We are putting a much greater focus on accessories. Our own-branded electrical accessories sold out in the first three weeks from launch. We are also increasing our branded accessories range and increasing the accessories display space in all our stores.’
Meanwhile, Fonehouse is continuing the roll out of its new look store format following its high profile launch on Channel Four programme Mary Portas: Secret Shopper last year. So far, 20 of its 50 stores have been kitted out with the new format.
The retailer is also planning to open a further 12 stores this year, four of which will be opened by existing Fonehouse franchise partners. Bayley is keen to increase the number of stores in and around London, currently numbering 25, and is also targeting the Midlands and the North East.
Fonehouse is fielding around five enquiries a week from potential franchisees. Bayley said: ‘We are being very tough in this market – if they can’t sell really hard we are not interested. Most of our partners come from the mobile market. If they are from the industry they stand a good chance of succeeding.’
Editor: Carol Millett