12/8/2010 10:52:00 AM
Vodafone ditches plans for more business stores
Vodafone has ditched plans to launch a nationwide chain of dedicated business stores following a trial of its first dedicated ‘Vodafone Business’ store in London.
The Vodafone Business store was opened in February this year in London’s famous Cheapside. Its brief was to target small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) within the area. Vodafone’s aim was to roll out further dedicated business stores if the trial store proved successful.
Announcing the launch at the time, Jo Werker, Vodafone UK’s SME chief, said the trial would run for three to six months and if successful, business stores would be opened ‘wherever there is a market opportunity for SMEs’.
However, ten months on, a Vodafone spokeswoman told Mobile the operator had no plans to extend the format to other high streets. Instead, it will disseminate the lessons learnt from the Vodafone Business store in Cheapside to its retail branches.
The spokeswoman said: ‘The trial was a one-off fact finding mission. The Cheapside store is going well but there are no plans to open more across the country at the moment.’
She added: ‘We aren’t saying we wouldn’t ever open further business stores. We have a large retail estate and business advisers in our stores and what we are doing is taking the lessons learnt at Cheapside out to our other stores.’
Vodafone launched its first Business store in Cheapside after research showed that up to 5,000 SMEs were located within a five-minute drive of the store. The store staff are specially trained SME advisers and technical experts who are able to help business customers with technical queries and low-level diagnostic faults and repairs.
Customers are also able to talk to in-house business advisers in dedicated demonstration areas. The store has prominent displays of all Vodafone’s SME business plans and products.
The launch coincided with Vodafone’s push to grab a larger share of the SME market, which also saw the operator launch a high-profile marketing campaign aimed at SMEs.