O2 in £19m store refit programme to deploy ‘digital services’ strategy

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Operator aiming to transform its stores to mirror its online shopping experience following double figure growth in that sales channel

O2 will begin a £19 million store overhaul programme lasting 18 months in Q4, following a successful trial in its Leeds store.

The scheme will involve O2 transforming its stores to mirror its online shopping experience.  It says 70 per cent of its customers check handsets online before buying in-store.

O2’s online sales have grown by double figures year on year.

O2 UK general manager Crispin Lowery (pictured) told Mobile News around £9.5 million will be spent on changing the design and layout of the operator’s stores, while £4.5 million will be invested in staff training and other operation costs.

O2 will also invest £5 million in in-store technology so that customers can view products and services.

Digital services
O2’s digital services and offerings include the O2 Tracks music service as well as VoIP service Tu Go, which enables calls and texts to be sent online from an O2
phone number.

Customers will also be able to make payments on their accounts in-store for the first time.

The trial in Leeds, which began in May, also included a demonstration of a number of digital technology services.

These included connected miniature video cameras designed to be placed in the home which are targeted at parents who want to keep an eye on their children using their smartphone.

Lowery said O2 aims to be at the forefront of technology and recognised as the “most trusted” provider of digital services in the UK.

He said: “This is an exciting time, particularly for O2, as this is not just a mobile industry any more, it is a mobile and digital industry.

“O2 has the opportunity to leapfrog many industries that are in the multi-channel world in terms of recognising the change in the way customers are shopping.

“One of the first things we did is remove the term ‘retail’ as a channel and start referring to it as stores, as we have to position our online and physical offerings. That was a really important internal cultural change.

“The stores will be used to sell services – TU Go, Tracks, and applications that we are starting to develop. Stores will also play a role in navigating choice and helping customers to understand their device and being shown how to use it.”

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