Sainsbury’s is set to launch a major drive into mobile after the successful trial of six pilot Phone Shops. The strategy will see Sainsbury’s roll out Phone Shops across its portfolio of 400 plus superstores, launching a challenge to supermarket rivals Tesco and Asda as well as high street mobile phone retailers.
The move comes ahead of plans to launch a Sainsbury’s MVNO which sources say could be back on the cards. The retailer is also planning to launch a Sainsbury’s Phone Shop website to provide an online back-up to the stores.
The nationwide roll-out follows strong performance of six trial Sainsbury’s Phone Shops at Kings Lynn, Letchworth, Cannock, Cheadle, Bishops Stortford and Monks Cross.
The directly managed stores are operated by dedicated Sainsbury’s staff, trained to sell mobile phones and accessories. The shops are located in prime positions in the store, fitted out in bright, modern colours and equipped with seated areas and play tables.
Staff at the directly managed stores said customer response has been positive. One said: ‘Lots of our customers say they feel like they are pounced on in the high street stores, whereas in here they feel like they can ask questions and get lots of help without feeling pressured.’
Another staff member said sales had been strong. ‘It stands to reason in a store of this size. We have over 30,000 customers a week and a lot of them have been drawn in particularly by the offers we have on.’
Sainsbury’s has launched a number of aggressive deals in the Phone Shops. The outlets are currently offering the Samsung Galaxy S 4 on a 24 month contract with O2 which includes 600 minutes of call time, unlimited texts and 750MB of data. It has no upfront cost for the handset and a consumer pays £32 per month.
The retailer is also leveraging its customer loyalty card scheme, offering customers 2,500 Nectar card points for every contract deal.
The Phone Shops offer contract deals with Three, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone as well as Sim-only and prepay deals. The handset range includes devices from Samsung, Nokia, HTC and BlackBerry, plus accessories. The retailer has also cut a deal with Apple to supply the iPhone later this summer. Airtime is supplied by A1 Comms, while 20:20 Mobile is supplying handsets and accessories.
Author: Carol Millett