Vodafone head of retail Martin Roberts talks about the company’s plans to open 150 stores over the next 12 months, creating 1,400 jobs.
Which locations will you be targeting?
This will be a nationwide programme encompassing all areas from Scotland, Northern Ireland - right across the UK. We want to go into the heart of communities where we believe we can serve our customers in sales, help with devices and give recommendations and be part of the customer journey. We are very specifically targeting areas we don’t operate in.
Many retailers including Arcadia and French Connection are scaling back their store portfolios. Why is Vodafone on the expansion trail?
I guess those are different businesses trading in different ways. For us, it’s the right time to return to Britain’s high streets and the right time to relocate some of our other stores. It’s the right time to invest in the UK – we’ve done our research and explored the opportunities in reaching new and existing customers.
Expanding our store footprint gives us more opportunity to integrate stores with online. The opportunity is around service. We are not just there to sell - we are there to service. We have 3,000 colleagues and they have great knowledge to offer. We want to gain lifetime loyalty by being there to help with devices and products.
Will the new stores look any different from your existing shops?
We’ll actually be rolling out a new design across the new stores. We’ve improved the journey for customers around service and we’ve create a better experience to talk to customers. It looks completely different - from the windows to the lighting. In our larger stores we’ll have a kids’ zone, so when parents are in a conversation for a monthly contract and they’ve got the got kids with them, they can go in the kids’ zone and utlise the tablets and have fun.
What are your plans to boost your multichannel offer?
Multichannel at this stage is all about direct and stores. Multichannel is absolutely a key part of our plans and we continue to offer a clear multichannel approach, including click and collect.