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O2 aims to 'revolutionise' the mobile phone shop with new concept store

Monday January 11th 2016

O2 has opened a new concept store where customer inspiration and digital exploration take centre-stage.

The company said the new shop in Manchester has been designed to “revolutionise” the look and feel of a traditional mobile phone shop. At three times the size of O2’s typical stores, the shop spans over 2,300 square feet and features interactive ‘inspire zones’ and roving technology tutorials delivered by expert “O2 Gurus”.

O2’s general manager of stores, Bridget Lea, said: “At O2, helping our customers get the most out of technology is at the heart of everything we do. But, the reality is, while mobile phones are at the heart of the digital revolution, mobile phone stores are not leading this revolution on the high street. Traditionally, mobile phone shops have been designed to be very functional and can often be uninviting and uninspiring – somewhere people visit occasionally to make a purchase rather than visit frequently to learn and be inspired by the possibilities of technology.

“That’s exactly what we’ve set out to change. We’re re-writing the rule book and creating a new kind of mobile phone shop to help us serve our customers better.”

A second concept store will open in London’s Westfield White City later in January.

Both stores will feature the interactive ‘inspire zones’ which will give customers the chance to test technology such as virtual reality and the latest connected devices, as well as mobile handsets.

In addition, the stores will offer tutorials on a range of subjects and provide lounge areas offering hot drinks and wireless mobile charging stations.

The Manchester store will also have an exclusive area where customers will be given the chance to explore the world of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including a BB-8 Training Zone.

Some 54 new roles have been created at the Manchester and London stores through a targeted recruitment drive. O2 said each new employee has been taken through a bespoke training programme, delivered using a special team of guest speakers and actors, and inspired by the individual cities and the people living there.

Lea added: “For our new stores to become the destination of choice for customers to be excited about the possibilities of technology, it was essential that we hire the right people. While our people are already delivering great service to our customers, we wanted to bring in people from a range of different industries so that we could offer our customers a totally different experience in-store. Our only requirement was that they are not only passionate about technology, but equally passionate about delivering a stand-out, hands-on customer experience.”

O2 has developed and designed the stores in partnership with international design agency Dalziel & Pow.

Simon Parkes, design director at Dalziel & Pow, said: “Relaxed, agile and social, the concept store breaks away from what a traditional mobile phone shop looks like, through a new approach that shows O2’s commitment to customer-focused experiential retail.

“Thanks to the versatile design, the stores will be regularly updated, ensuring customers always have something fresh to discover and a reason to visit.”