Fonehouse has upped its battle for high street presence with plans to roll out a chain of branded business centres run by its b2b partners and targeting local SMEs as well as consumers.
The first four Fonehouse business centres will be launched by July, with another seven set to launch later this year. The business centres will be operated by franchise partners drawn from Fonehouse’s branded b2b partner programme and its stable of 100-plus indirect b2b dealers.
The move comes as the fight for high street dominance ramps up with operators and independent mobile retailers all gunning for greater presence in the UK’s towns and cities.
Speaking to Mobile, Fonehouse sales director, Russ Wheeler (pictured) said the Fonehouse business centre programme will allow b2b dealers to raise their profile in the local business community under a trusted high street brand, as well as attract additional consumer and prosumer sales.
He said: ‘We are reinventing retail. We want to get our b2b partners more engaged in high street retail. Our business centres are targeted at b2b partners who want to drive b2b and prosumer sales and services in a consumer environment. These business centres will give our b2b partners a high street profile and since all business customers are also consumers they will be able to identify much more with the brand outside of work as well as in their businesses.’
Wheeler said the business centres will also aim to offer value added services to the local business community. He said: ‘As well as bringing additional consumer sales our partners will be able to offer repair services, accessories, drop in services, product health checks, onsite visits and a place for local businesses to go for advice, or for workshops and seminars.’
The business centres will target local businesses with between 1–10 employees and will offer mobile, fixed and broadband propositions, with cloud services set to be added to the portfolio this year.
Wheeler said the Fonehouse brand will be prominent on the business centres. ‘They will be Fonehouse branded locations with the Fonehouse fascia but with much more stress on the businesses element,’ he explained.
Fonehouse is fast tracking the rollout, offering its Fonehouse branded b2b partners an upfront loan to fund the cost of setting up the franchise.
Wheeler said interest was strong. ‘We have not marketed this yet, but already have more than ten partners showing strong interest with three or four ready to launch.’
Fonehouse is also pushing into the b2b market via its 50-plus consumer stores with all stores selling EE SME business tariffs from dedicated b2b zones from this week.