5/30/2013 11:15:24 AM
Graham Stapleton - chief commercial officer, Carphone Warehouse
The past 12 months have been seen as a year when Carphone Warehouse started to rediscover a bit of the old magic. The retailer is sharper and more collaborative than in the years when it was fiddling with implementing the ill-fated Best Buy ‘big box’ branches. Driving this change has been chief commercial officer Graham Stapleton, someone who has been refreshingly open about the challenge facing Carphone, and how it is best placed to capitalise. He was crucial in recognising the rate of change in the market, as Phones 4u raised its game and operators decided to try and take Carphone on with their own retail propositions. One operator said: ‘In the past, it was a bit guilty of talking about the big glossy things and less about pure retail matter. It forgot it was a mobile phone retailer for a while. But it now wants to work in partnership and that’s a big difference. Graham has been open that it needs to adapt, change and think a bit differently.’
Among the changes, Stapleton has been at the centre of it moving its buying teams into customer solutions groups, or to put it in plain English, make buying decisions based on what the customer wants. This has led to its keenly priced Smart Deals and a greater focus on tablets. And then there have been those all important exclusives. Nabbing the BlackBerry Q10, the first BB10 handset with the traditional Qwerty keyboard, was a coup for the retailer, with its Selfridges concession selling out its exclusive consignment within hours.