O2 has announced that it will open two new larger concept stores in Manchester and London.
Explaining its reasons for opening the stores the network said it intended to use the stores to test out new ideas around mobile phone retail.
As well as being much larger in size the store also features an ‘inspire zone’ which allows customers to interact with the latest technology for free. Situated in the first third of the shop the ‘zone’ will change regularly to introduce different technologies to the consumer.
It’s an area the operator will use to display the connected home range which it announced this week at CES in Las Vegas as O2 stores GM Bridget Lea told Mobile: ‘The great thing about the two new stores are they are so large we’ll be able to do a fantastic showcase for the connected home. I think that our customers are going to be incredibly excited by that.’
Different staff intake
Staff for the new store were recruited differently from other O2 outlets with the brand seeking to attract a cross section of tech enthusiasts. The new store staff have also been trained to a ‘super guru’ level which is five times that of the networks regular product experts.
The first concept store opened yesterday in Market Street in Manchester, the second is set to open in London’s Westfield Shopping centre. Over the coming months O2 intends to test and learn its new retail ideas using the concept stores.
Speaking to Mobile following the opening of the store in Manchester Lea said that O2 hoped another benefit of the new stores would be an increase in footfall, she said: ‘traditionally in our sector people tend to come in when they need something, when they need a new phone. What we wanted to create with these stores is a place in which people can come into regularly, places that they come back because they want to and because they want to spend time in these stores regularly not every two years, but maybe every week because there is always something happening in one of our stores. It’s important that parts of the store change all the time for this.
Lea added that customer experience was another area the brand was looking to improve with the new stores: ‘We’re at the heart of digital revolution, but actually we’re not leading that revolution from the high street I think that there is an opportunity for us in our sector to do more to give an enhanced experience for our customers.
‘This is not just about device, it’s also about how can that device can enhance people’s lives and give people fantastic digital experiences. So what we wanted to create was a new concept of stores based on fantastic customer experience.’