Orange has entered a strategic partnership with Asda to trial Orange concessions in its Supercentres.
The first outlet opened in Eastlands, Manchester on Thursday (8 October).
The deal provides a dedicated Orange space, which is staffed by Orange employees. If the trial is successful, the concession will be rolled out across Asda’s 30 other UK Supercentres.
Orange director of retail Sian Doyle told Mobile: ‘We are trialling different types of retail concessions tailored to meet the retail habits and environment of local shoppers.
‘People shop at Asda two or three times a week, so the format is different to our own high street stores or the HMV concessions.’
?The Manchester store has seven dedicated Orange employees and focuses on mobile handsets, laptops, dongles and accessories.
The Orange Asda store stocks a smaller range of handsets than in its high street outlets – there is no Orange prepay, to avoid conflict with Asda’s existing offering. Doyle said the basic £5 tariff was going well, as were mobile broadband sales. Upgrades were also proving popular.
She added: ‘The store is tailored to what we think the customers will like, but we are amending it on a weekly basis as we learn more about what they want. The Eastlands store has 100,000 customers a week, so there is a lot of opportunity.’
Doyle said it was critical that the Orange team was integrated into the Asda environment and that the staff were happy to work in that particular store format. Orange staff undergo a full Asda training induction, so they can help customers find any product in the store.
Doyle also confirmed that the initial approach for the strategic partnership came from Asda, and said a meeting was due imminently to discuss which Asda stores would house an Orange outlet next.
‘We’ll probably get another one or two stores ready before Christmas, then the busy trading period will take over,’ said Doyle.
She hinted that if the trials in the Supercentres were successful, then the duo might look at adapting the format into smaller Asda stores.