Apple Strategy Inspires Vodafone’s Stores Revamping

Vodafone is revamping its high street stores around the UK to create a modern services-led design similar to that pioneered by Apple’s flagship stores.

The UK telecommunications group is investing £50 million (Dh291.2 million) in a three-year program of refurbishment of its 380 stores using many features that will be familiar to customers of Apple’s stores, which have become so popular that people will visit without any intention to buy a device.

The traditional image of the hard-selling British mobile phone shop has long been mocked, not least in theTV sitcom PhoneShop, but mobile phone groups are attempting to introduce more customer friendly approaches.

The transformation of retail outlets by leading mobile groups reflects the higher values and complexity of many of the devices being sold.

The latest “smart” devices have more in common with mobile computers than with ordinary phones and require a commensurate level of understanding and servicing, as Financial Times stated.

Shops also sell tablets such as Apple’s iPad, as well as network access through Sims and dongles.

Vodafone is scaling back banks of tills in favor of payments via a tablet, with staff encouraged to walk around and interact with customers.

There are “tech team” people trained to provide advice on technology with the aim that any buyer of a phone will be educated in its use before leaving the shop.

Shops will feature more seating and stands with top-selling devices in the middle of the floors that can be tested and played.