Shebang Distribution said last week it expects a fuller and more productive relationship with Asda, as it underpins its trial of in-store ‘Phone Shops’ in Asda superstores
Shebang, which has just walked away from a £20 million supply contract with Tesco, said last week Asda can make a bigger success of mobile phone retail than its supermarket rival.
Shebang has agreed with the retailer to run its trial of fully-fledged ‘Phone Shops’ in two of its supermarket chains, and also set about design and construction of its mobile sales website.
Managing director Iain Humphrey said: “There is no doubt for me that Asda, with its scale and approach to retailing and partnerships, and Shebang, with long experience in the industry and two-and-a-half years’ working in the supermarket sector itself, can work to create a better proposition than anyone else in the market.
“Our sense is that, where everyone thought it would be difficult for mass retailers to get to grips with mobile, we believe in fact the profile of shoppers in Asda stores means they do have time to browse and take advice on mobile products. We do believe there is an expansive sales and partnership opportunity with Asda in contract, prepay and accessories.”
Shebang recently won around 50 per cent of accessories supply into Asda stores, including a number of lines from its own Nexus portfolio.
It has followed the deal with a contract to manage fulfilment of its new-concept Phone Shops, expected to roll out to more than 30 Asda superstores late in the year.
The two trial sites open in the coming weeks, and will sell Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Three contracts and upgrades, as well as prepay and accessories.
It will also sell Asda Mobile, the supermarket’s MVNO offer, which runs off the Vodafone network. Shebang is not equipped to sell O2, Mobile News understands.
Asda will take all contract airtime services via Shebang. Prepay and a hucnk of the accessories business is separate.
Shebang will install its updated Sellfone SpeedPoint EPOS system, and also bring across eight staff to Asda stores, six perviously deployed in Tesco’s in-store mobile shops.
Humphrey said: “The relationship has developed since we started to put accessories into Asda stores, and its approach to retailing and partnerships has been a breath of fresh air.
“Shebang will assist with Asda’s trial of in-store mobile shops by supplying systems and staff, as well as designing and building its mobile website. The intention is together to deliver a successful model for all aspects of mobile retail.
“The idea is in the first instance to understand better the profile of Asda customers, and build the retailing model to suit that, and to be in a position to serve, give advice and maximise sales for all types of mobile products. We are bringing in expert staff, who have recently finished working for another partner.”