Vodafone dealers dismissed fears that they will lose SME
market share if Vodafone
goes ahead with plans to roll out a chain of dedicated business
stores aimed at the SME market.
The operator's plans, revealed by Mobile (see 22 January issue),
could see Vodafone Business stores on every UK high street, if a
trial store in London is a success.
However, dealers are confident the new stores would not threaten
One said: 'The industry will always win. We have superior
knowledge and service, and we are small businesses like them, so
we know what they need. We can go into their businesses and we
can cut tailor made deals and offer additional services that the
network can't offer.'
Vodafone's market research found 5,000 SMEs were within a five
minute drive of its City of London Business store, formally
launched this week.
Ian Gillespie, MD of Fone Logistics, said: 'The idea could work
in London and other large cities where there is a concentration
of SMEs but not in more sparsely populated areas, so I don't see
it as a threat. In addition, we are a service industry, which
means we have the edge because we can bring service to the
customer rather than them having to come to us.'
Vodafone's SME sales director, Rob Shardlow, said dealers would
continue to play a key part in the SME arena.
He said: 'We know there are lots of SMEs that want to be served
by similar, like-minded organisations.'
Vodafone Business Store
Vodafone's first dedicated 'Business' store formally opened in
the City of London this week.
If sales go well the concept will be rolled out across the UK.
The Vodafone Business store is aimed at small and medium sized
firms (SMEs). The operator has launched a targeted marketing
campaign at local tube and train stations, cafés and shops to
drive up footfall. It is also targeting 5,000 SMEs within a five
mile drive of the store.
The trial will run for between three and six months. The store is
staffed by specially trained SME advisers and technical experts.
In addition, experts from handset manufacturers will be invited
to give regular lectures to customers on how to get the best out
of their products.