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ArmaFone unveils plans for repair expansion

Megan Robinson
September 6, 2022

Mobile repair and product firm ArmaFone opened its first TechPOD in July outside a Sainsbury’s store, in a new supermarket strategy that it hopes will bear fruit alongside other initiatives like its tech academy

For more than 20 years, ArmaFone has been working across East Anglia offering a range of repairs and mobile-related products and services, expanding over time to serve a range of customers.

Starting out as part of B2B dealer TMAC Wireless Solutions in 2001, the company originally served business customers as technology was advancing and becoming more expensive and fragile as Nokia phones began to fall out of fashion.

The company then branched out into the consumer segment in 2013, offering repairs, accessories, screen protection and a callout option to residents in East Anglia.

ArmaFone managing director Chris Everitt says the company decided to try out the consumer side, as there was a big opportunity to reach a wider audience.

However, he adds that business customers still make up a large portion of the customer base, attracted by the option to have an account with priority repairs and
monthly invoicing.

Meeting needs

In recent years, Everitt says consumer demand has been growing and so the company needed a better way to serve its customers.

In 2018, the firm therefore moved from the high street in Ipswich to an Asda store in the same town– believing it could gain more traction within a popular supermarket.

More supermarket points of presence were planned from as early as 2019, but COVID halted this.

Then, when ArmaFone came back to the idea, it kept the supermarket idea but with a
slight change in approach.

This began in July 2022, when ArmaFone launched its first TechPOD at a Sainsbury’s store in the Stanway area of Colchester, Essex.

Inside the Stanway ArmaFone TechPOD with Sainsburys

Rather than being inside the supermarket, the concept is that this is a separate store just outside that gives the firm more of a clear presence in providing accessible tech repair services.

“As we learned more about the specifics of the grocery-sector concession landscape, we realised that we needed an alternative to internal space if we were going to achieve
our strategic and geographic goals.”

Everitt saying that a further two TechPODs are in development in partnership with
the supermarket retailer in as-yet-undisclosed locations, and are set to open in the
autumn and winter.

“We think the units are really eye-catching,” he says. “The presence of an ArmaFone TechPOD on a Sainsbury’s site is designed to add value to regular supermarket visits.”

Everitt says that while ArmaFone’s current focus is on landing TechPODs with Sainsbury’s, it is also in discussions with several other big supermarket brands on the same concept, as well as a number of retail-park operators.

Everitt says ArmaFone is also planning to potentially have supermarket-based repair points that will have callout, pick-up and drop-off support.

“I think the ideal ratio between physical locations and vehicle support will become more apparent over the next 12 months,” he says.

In another move, ArmaFone this spring debuted an academy offering a qualification
in tech repair.

Under this, Everitt says apprentices can take IT courses and accompany technicians in one of ArmaFone’s supermarket locations or a callout vehicle to gain experience.

“Since we launched the academy in April, we’ve been busy training the staff of a retail chain as part of its plans to offer tech repair,” he says.

“The results have been great and the feedback we’ve received is better than we
could have hoped for.”

ArmaFone is now expanding its courses and their content to ensure that technicians
are well-equipped to meet industry standards.

Everitt says ArmaFone will continue to focus on the training academy and keep growing the TechPODs with Sainsbury’s.

Apple Repairs

As for its other aims in 2022, the next big thing for ArmaFone is its plan to secure Apple independent repair provider (IPR) verification, enabling it to offer repair providers
access to genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals and diagnostics.

“This will further underpin our quality ethos and our credibility, as well as giving our customers additional options for repairing Apple devices,” he says.

“In addition, we are soon going to be launching the last core module of our own in-house software to manage our end-to-end workflow across retail, B2B and callout channels.”

Everitt says he is also busy organising more projects for 2023, and that he sees
a bright future for the firm over the next few years.

“I’m confident that given the opportunity, ArmaFone could become a nationally
recognisable brand,” he says.

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