Accessories distributor Activ8 is hitting the high street with plans to roll out a network of mobile phone repair and accessories shops across the UK.
The distributor has already opened its first high street store in Stoke city centre and is set to open a second store in Watford in the new year, with a third planned within the first quarter of 2014.
The three trial stores, which are branded I-Fix, will be directly managed but further stores will be rolled out under a franchise model with the distributor currently on the look-out for suitable franchise partners.
I-Fix stores will be kitted out in fresh clean lines similar to Apple stores with staff trained to give consistently high levels of service across its store portfolio.
Activ8 MD Stuart Conroy said: ‘We aim to fill a gap in the mobile repairs and accessories market by providing a trusted, local repair service on the high street for high end phones and a range of exclusive mobile accessories. A lot of repair stores out there are little booths that offer unlocking services which don’t always give customers confidence. We want to offer something which gives customers a high level of service that they can trust.’
The distributor is aiming to open stores on high streets across the country and is hoping to attract venture capital investment to back its plans.
Conroy said: ‘We know that model works well, so long as you offer a consistent level of service and consistent lines across all stores with properly trained technicians and staff.’
The Activ8 stores, which will largely target high end smartphone users, will offer an online booking system and one hour turnaround on most repairs, which will be carried out by trained technicians offering a high standard of repairs and a warranty service.
Conroy said the I-Fix stores will also be able to provide exclusive accessories with customers benefitting from the distributors’ in-depth knowledge of the accessories market.
‘Accessories have always been a peripheral in most stores whereas in our stores they will be central to the business. I want to make a central feature of accessories in our stores.’
Conroy said the company is also offering more attractive terms to accessories manufacturers to attract exclusive deals.
‘We know of a number of manufacturers who will not deal with the UK high street because retailers’ terms of sale and return are so tough. We are offering better terms which is bringing us the opportunity to work with some big brands from the US, Taiwan and Korea who are not getting exposure on the high street.’
He added: ‘We want to be the launch pad for innovative brands. We have some great products on board which we know will fly off the shelves.’