Mobile retailer Fonehouse is launching into unified comms early next year as part of a wider strategy, which will also see 40 stores offering b2b services by the end of 2013.
The proposition will go live early next year and is expected to offer mobile, fixed, and broadband services, with cloud services set to be launched later in 2013.
The move comes as Fonehouse ramps up its b2b drive. The retailer currently has five directly managed stores and eight franchise partner stores targeting the b2b market. However, Clive Bayley, Fonehouse group chairman, told Mobile it plans to roll out b2b services to around 40 stores by the end of 2013. The retailer is aiming to be trading from 80 branches by that date. Fonehouse b2b mobile deals will be available on T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone and O2.
Bayley said: ‘This is all part of our move into b2b, which is really gaining momentum. A lot of our partners are now taking on a dedicated b2b member of staff to help drive this. ‘B2b is perfect for Fonehouse. We are a local community retailer, based on the high street, with a high level of trust, which means we are perfectly positioned to sell to local businesses.’ Bayley said Fonehouse is targeting SMEs with between five and 25 employees, but said some of its partners had landed much bigger b2b deals.
To support the strategy Fonehouse is adding four account managers to its b2b team, led by Russ Wheeler, founder of Deal Builder, who joined the retailer in September. Fonehouse also bought Wheeler’s Deal Builder software, which enables its partners to build bespoke b2b tariffs for customers. Bayley said: ‘The Deal Builder software is crucial because it makes it simple to put together a b2b deal quickly, allowing our partners to build the best deal automatically.’
Last week, Bayley appointed Simon Douglas, former head of Virgin Megastores and Zavvi Entertainment Group, as Fonehouse CEO. Bayley said Douglas will play a key role in growing the business during the next 18 months. ‘Now is the time to go for growth, while the market is still in disarray,’ he said. ‘We want to catch the wave as the market starts to move out of recession. 2013 will be a defining year for Fonehouse.’
Editor: Carol Millett