Orange and T-Mobile joint-branded stores part of trials to establish company’s brand strategy as it says a multiple brand play for the JV is also a possibility
Everything Everywhere is to launch Orange and T-Mobile 50/50 split-retail stores in the coming weeks and has revealed it’s considering launching new network brands in its Everything Everywhere retail stores before September.
Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, has told Mobile News it will launch up to five Orange and T-Mobile joint-branded retail stores in March as it continues trials to establish its brand strategy.
Everything Everywhere agreed the joint venture in March 2010 and informed its shareholders it would continue to operate both brands in the UK for 18 months, ending this October.
The company is already trialling six dual-branded “concession” stores in areas where only one of the operators exists and earlier this month announced plans to open five Everything Everywhere branded retail stores with minimum network branding.
The new stores will be split down the middle to offer both Orange and T-Mobile products and services. Staff will be trained to offer an equal sales experience and customer service for both brands for the first time. Details on store locations and potential store closures have not been revealed. Everything Everywhere insists it is still looking to increase its 720 retail footprint despite the store mergers. Branding for both T-Mobile and Orange will be included on the front signage for the first time, it is understood.
Everything Everywhere compared the move with PC World and Currys’ launch of a number of dual-branded stores last year, and the 50/50 joint venture between Vodafone and 3 in Australia, signed in 2009.
Everything Everywhere vice president of brands and communications Steven Day said: “Retail stores are a big part of the jigsaw and we have done several different formats. We have the Everything Everywhere stores, which are just opening, we have the concession stores for either brand and we will have 50/50 stores, which will be split down the middle.
“If you walk in to an Orange dual-branded store at present you may be curious at the concession stand in the corner but it’s still an Orange experience. The stores split will be very much 50-50. Three did something very similar with Vodafone in Australia, so we have used that as an example.”
Everything Everywhere also told Mobile News it may increase the brands it operates under in the UK, comparing the customer experience to that found in a Carphone Warehouse. Day, who compared the “potential” strategy to that of Volkswagen, with multiple brands in the car industry, said it is considering the same approach in its Everything Everywhere stores where the Orange and T-Mobile branding is recessive.
Day said: “We have an obligation to fulfil, which we said when the merger went through, that we would look at our brand strategy and make an announcement by October this year.
“The question is how do we maximise value for our business using the tools of our brands and other activities we engage in?
“We are trying to be open-minded and there are options. We could have more than two brands. We could easily have three, four or five. Just look at the Volkswagen Group: they have a multiple-brand strategy even though they are operating in the same market segment. Going multi-brand might be the right strategy.
“It’s something we are going to look at with our stores. So it’s a possibility there will be another brand by the end of September.”
Orange vice president of wholesale and M2M Marc Overton added: “If you look at the bigger picture it puts us in a very different place in the buying behaviour of the UK consumer and more akin, say, to The Carphone Warehouse.”
Day also confirmed its corporate sales team no longer enters discussions as Orange and T-Mobile, discussing tariffs and propositions as Everything Everywhere.
Everything Everywhere has renewed its MVNO agreement with Virgin Mobile, Mobile News understands.
The multi-year deal is understood to have been signed in January and continues the 12-year relationship.
Virgin become the UK’s first MVNO with T-Mobile (now Everything Everywhere) in 1999.
Everything Everywhere refused to comment.