Dixons Carphone’s deputy CEO Andrew Harrison (pictured) has told Mobile he has major ambitions for the Connected World Service business segment. This is the unit that Harrison has been running and which recently announced a $32m deal with Sprint to help run its US stores.
The emphasis on the service division is part of a strategy by Dixons Carphone to only have its branding in markets where it is ‘the clear number one with consumer electronics and mobile’. The unit has also been used in the UK to provide elements of the brand’s value chain to other sectors.
‘We’ve decided as an organisation through the merger that we want to operate our own brand only in markets where we’re the clear number one with consumer electronics and mobile’ said Harrison. ‘A number of countries didn’t fit that target of where we wanted them to be. So we decided that for all the territories where we weren’t going to operate our own brand, we would provide Connected World Services.
'It’s based on providing elements of our value chain to other people – be that retailing solutions, product solutions, insurance, technical support, warranty capabilities or experience in running MVNOs. We have a whole host of service capabilities, which means that every country in the world is opened up to us. The Sprint deal is an example of one operator we’re working with, but we could work with any operator in the world.’
Harrison explained these services weren’t limited to a retail market and were being used in the UK by a number of different partners from different fields: ‘We operate our own brand in the UK and we’re wary of carrying out any operations that cannibalise our position in the market.
'What we’re doing with Connected World Services is not exclusive to retail products and service areas. So we already have strong relationships with British Gas, BP, TalkTalk, Samsung, and RBS to name a few household names. Perhaps many people don’t know that we’re behind the scenes putting services together. Outside the Samsung stores we don’t run any network stores outside the UK, although we’d never say that we wouldn’t.’
Harrison remained coy when questioned on whether the partnership with Sprint would lead to more, the same way that discussions about Carphone Warehouse providing store-in-stores for Dixons had led to the merger: ‘We’ve done it with Best Buy and we’ve now done it with Sprint. The Dixons conversation came out of the same process. So we’re quite confident that we’ve got secret stuff here, and stuff to offer people. And that’s why we’re all really investing behind Connected World Services; we’re all really excited to prove it to the rest of the world.’
The retailer’s push into the service sector comes after it makes some staff changes, which see the two sides of the businesses senior management teams becoming more intertwined. Former Carphone Warehouse CEO Graham Stapleton will head to the US as executive chairman of the Dixons Carphone Sprint joint venture. His replacement, former Dixons Retail eCommerce director Jeremy Fennell, will take up the role of MD for UK & Ireland. Fennell will report to Katie Bickerstaffe, UK & Ireland chief executive of both Dixons and Carphone Warehouse.