5/12/2008 11:11:00 AM
Carphone woo American networks for store expansion
Carphone’s management team in America is tackling the twin challenge of convincing landlords and American operators for its BestBuy Mobile business, as the company has brought forward its store target.
BestBuy have made 1,000 mobile stores the target by the end of this year, rather than next year, following strong sales in trials in New York and Raleigh Durham.
BestBuy Mobile retail director Alistair Jones told Mobile in an exclusive interview that the American mobile venture has had a tough time convincing American networks that they should let BestBuy Mobile in.
Jones, a Carphone veteran now posted in America, said: ‘The model is completely opposite to how the UK grew. It was just independent retailers in UK, even customer management was handled by the retailers in many cases. In contrast, it’s a completely carrier (operator)-led market here.’
He added: ‘Customers are brainwashed here thinking, “I’ve got to go to the networks”.’
Jones, and commercial director, Jude Buckley, have set about to try to convince American networks that they can generate high spending customers, and have used the Carphone model of increased choice of handsets.
There is also a fight to secure the best retail sites in Manhattan for stand alone BestBuy Mobile stores.
The relationship between Carphone and BestBuy was solidified this week with BestBuy investing £1.1bn in a new UK joint venture which includes Carphone’s existing retail estate as well as plans to open around 200 30,000sq foot large consumer electronic stores to be branded ‘BestBuy Big Box’, competing directly with the likes of Curry’s and Comet.
Read more in this week’s issue of Mobile, featuring an exclusive interview and report from BestBuy Mobile’s largest store in Manhattan.