Mobile phone provider EE has today opened its “future face of retail” flagship store in Westfield London, White City.
The launch of the new Studio store format is part of EE’s new retail strategy, aimed at providing customers with a more experiential offering.
The store features a host of “experience zones” – such as a dedicated gaming area, “taste of the future” smart home zone and a “digital spa”, where customers can use technology to detox from their screens.
The store also features a “multi-functional, flexible and ever-evolving” events hub space – an area where customers can try out tech before they buy it – as well as a shared working space where customers are offered complimentary tea and coffee.
The Studio store will also offer customers demonstrations and assistance with setting up their home of the future, showcasing an interconnected “living room”, “smart kitchen”, “kid’s bedroom” and a “home office”.
EE managing director of commercial Bridget Lea said: “Our EE Studio store has been designed to create standout experiences that reflect the changing needs of our customers and the increasingly connected lives they lead.
“As part of our ambition to become the most personal, customer-focused brand in the UK, we are proud to be offering our customers the chance to get up close and personal with the latest innovations and game-changing technology that is right for them. Our vision for the Studio has been years in the making and we can’t wait for our customers to finally see what the future’s got in store.
“Promising that no two visits will be the same, each member of the Studio team has been chosen to reflect the diverse society EE serves, with different passions, side hustles and interests that come together with a love for technology and helping people.
“The team are encouraged to bring their personal interests and talents to life in the Studio, by hosting technology workshops for consumers themed around their own expertise. There is also an on-site recording studio that allows them to create and share social media content giving a behind-the-scenes view of the Studio space.”
Lea told Retail Week that the new-format experiential stores would also open in Manchester Trafford Centre, Cardiff and Bluewater, Kent, in the coming months, with more to come by the end of the year.
She said the focus on offering experiences and services for customers was aimed at changing the perception that customers only needed or wanted to go to an EE store “once every two years when they want to upgrade their phone”.
When asked if the store would eventually be rolled out across EE’s 800-plus UK store estate, Lea said “refitting stores is incredibly expensive”, but added that the telco giant would “take the best aspects of these new stores and roll them out across the rest of the portfolio”.