5/25/2011 12:20:00 PM
Vodafone kicks off huge retail overhaul
Vodafone has thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors with a multimillion-pound overhaul of its retail estate.
The retail investment will see a national rollout of state-of-the-art retail stores to Vodafone’s 400-strong estate, with the first shop set to go live this week (26 May) in Edinburgh. It will reach 25% of the network’s retail estate by Christmas 2011, and the entire footprint over the next few years.
Vodafone is the latest retailer to overhaul its retail estate after O2, Everything Everywhere, Phones 4u, and Carphone kicked off their own programmes last year.
Vodafone’s overhaul has been led by the operator’s head of direct sales Mike Durbridge after internal research found that online and retail channels are increasingly coming together, with 75% of customers going online before visiting a store.
The network is also set to overhaul its training for retail staff with a focus on ‘improving the customer experience’. Meanwhile, it has been trialling tech experts in-store over the past few months.
The revamped stores will feature display screens in the windows to replace posters, live products and demonstration areas, mobile terminals, flexible sales pods and flexible dummy and live handset merchandising, allowing Vodafone to change the store layouts as and when it needs to.
All stores will be wireless, with stock accessible from the shop floor rather than out the back so that the sales person never leaves the customer.
There will also be live products in the window and a ‘Hello’ concierge area.
The network has asked staff to give their opinions on the changes, having built a mock store in the HQ for them to try out and provide feedback.
The operator, which claims it has developed a new ‘store standard’, is also running an ‘adopt a store’ scheme where all senior managers at HQ adopt a store and work one day there every three months.
A Vodafone spokesman said: ‘It’s a really good step forward in making sure customers are well looked after in our stores.’