9/17/2009 11:31:00 AM
Phones 4u to transform entire retail estate
Phones 4u is undergoing a multimillion-pound refresh of its entire store estate, to create a format that will go head to head with Carphone Warehouse’s Wireless World stores.
Outlets will be given a lighter, more contemporary, ‘three dimensional’ design and – like the Wireless World format – will focus on increasing customer interaction with products in store.
Phones 4u is aiming for all 450 shops to be given the refresh by April 2010. Three pilot stores in Stafford, Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Crewe, have already been given the new decor. It is expected that up to 100 more stores will be refreshed by November, with the first batch receiving the makeover by the end of this month.
The new stores will have product demonstration ‘zones’, with LCD TV screens showing live handset demos to multiple customers. They will also be kitted out with stock cabinets beneath all display handsets. These cabinets have already been deployed in the Phones 4u concession store in Currys, Birmingham.
The cabinets are designed to add to the ‘three dimensional’ feel, and will also reduce customer waiting times; live demo handsets are currently kept in the back offices of stores.
Phones 4u’s retail development director, John Welsh, told Mobile: ‘The plan is to get the stores brighter with a distinctive, contemporary look, which will make them look a lot more spacious. We also want our stores to “make the handset the hero”, and that’s why we have implemented the demonstration zones and the in-store stock cabinets. It’s a big change.’
The lighter decor replaces a dark blue look, and appears to be in keeping with Phones 4u’s strategy to cultivate a more friendly image to shed its ‘hard sell’ reputation.
A designated store refresh team is currently visiting one region per week to complete surveys with store managers, to agree the optimal layout for the new stores. Staff will be given training as the new stores are rolled out.