Dixons Carphone – seller, and now fixer, of all things electrical – is not best known for its connected world services business.
But that looks set to change as it ramps up its focus on this division, which has been a work-in-progress for over three years, specifically its digital platform HoneyBee.
The group’s ambitious boss Seb James believes his retail business can take on the likes of and win, by leveraging what makes it unique. And HoneyBee is one of those things.
Dixons Carphone is sticking considerable resources behind the project and yesterday revealed that former Carphone Warehouse boss Graham Stapleton has stepped down from the electricals goliath’s board to take on the role of HoneyBee chief executive.
Stapleton – a former Kingfisher director who joined Carphone Warehouse in 2005 – has been instrumental in HoneyBee’s growth.
But he is now moving from boss of the whole connected world services arm, to concentrate solely on HoneyBee as it grows and becomes a standalone business.
What is it HoneyBee?
In short, it’s a platform that simplifies and streamlines the sales process. The software, which is housed on handheld tablets, helps store staff rapidly whittle down customers’ individual needs.
Whether shopping for a car, phone or laptop, the customer can answer a few questions to ensure they are presented with products that have features and add ons they require – particularly useful when it comes to complex purchases.
The end-to-end solution ensures steps are never missed out, empowers store staff through gamification and can speed up the selling process too – making it possible to convert more sales in a day.
Stapelton says: “Whether selling face to face or over the phone, the power of bringing together the best of human empathy and sales skills, with technology’s agility and ability to personalise, can revolutionise the experience for customers and the results for businesses.”
It also provides businesses with reams of data on every customer that enters their store – whether or not they end up buying anything.
But, having the technology in place is only half the battle. For this reason, HoneyBee offers expert services to ensure the software is used effectively in the long term.
Plans for HoneyBee
Dixons Carphone already has the HoneyBee technology in place in some of its 3-in-1 stores, having started to digitise its computer selling process. However, other retailers such as Apple are already using the technology too.
Dixons Carphone is on a drive to expand the technology to more businesses.
This week, HoneyBee joined forces with accountancy heavyweight PwC and the platform will become part of the firm’s advisory service, enabling it to boost its client’s margins and sales by helping them to deliver more consistent, and essentially better, customer experiences.
Although HoneyBee is not yet material in a group financial context, retail analysts have pointed to its “great potential” across a range of industries, including banking and telecoms, particularly given it is led by former Carphone Warehouse executives.
“Retail analysts have pointed to HoneyBee’s ‘great potential’ across a range of industries”
Last year, Dixons Carphone set out a bold goal of building its services into a £1bn business – HoneyBee will undoubtedly play an important part of this.
Some analysts have even speculated that the creation of HoneyBee as a separate entity, with its own board, will facilitate partnerships, financing and could lead to a potential sale later down the line.
But for now, it adds another robust string to Dixons Carphone’s bow.