Development of a new flagship store for O2, and roll out across 550 UK stores
Design consultancy JHP was appointed by O2 to work on the design of a new store concept for the telecoms retailer. Decidedly moving away from being a ‘phone shop’ to being a ‘platform for total connectivity’, the new concept had to truly evolve the format of retailing communication devices. The intangibility of O2’s content and services should be core to the store of the future. The first store launched in Manchester’s Arndale centre recently and is set to significantly elevate the service and product offer in the retailer’s store estate.
Central to the new store design is the creation of a newly appointed O2 Guru in each store. A futuristic bar starts in the window and sweeps around to form a service area in which the O2 Guru can operate to the side of the store. The window display aims to bring the tangible benefits of being on O2 to life rather than the technology itself. The strategy to create a complete ‘connected world experience’ is brought alive by the physical layout of the product ranges. Phones and technology are displayed on bespoke pieces of furniture rather than the standard approach of using wall bays. Devices are laid out on fixtures to tell complete stories, with phones connected to the best accessories on the market, including headphones, printers and speakers. All products are live to encourage customer interaction and to discover the world of O2. The store environment seamlessly links the worlds of the contemporary home and future technology without alienating the everyday customer. Contemporary concrete floor tiles and dark timber flooring are used to define different zones within the store. Overhead, the unique ceiling features sinuous interlocking blades, reflecting the form of sound waves. At the back of the store, is the ‘lounge’ area. Relaxed and inviting furniture positioned around a coffee table faces a huge 65” interactive touch-screen which will show product demonstrations, gaming, video clips from The O2 and from sponsored sports events. Timber flooring, textured wall-covering and lampshades bring warmth to the environment and adds to the homely feel. The lounge area will also provide a space for O2’s ‘It’s Your Community’ presentations where grants are presented to local community groups. Future proofing has been considered as the white unitary on the shop-floor has been designed to swap out easily as the product range evolves. Customer experience in-store is enhanced further with the introduction of a ‘self service’ table enabling customers to check their account, top up, and buy O2 event tickets.
The new concept significantly elevates the brand above its competition by focusing on the high levels of service it provides in-store and by demystifying complex technology. The store also boasts significant ‘green’ credentials, employing the use of energy efficient lighting, digital ticketing instead of paper, digital screens instead of posters and managed power sources which accommodates different day part requirements. The concept is to be rolled out across 25 stores this year and a further 150 in 2009.
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