Mobile network Orange opened what it says is its first UK multimedia store last week in Milton Keynes.
Mobile phone retailers regularly ring this office eager to inform a waiting world about how they have effected a “step change” in the business of selling handsets, associated accessories and services.
With almost the same frequency, this proves to be not entirely the case and what is in fact on offer is another box with a slightly different way of organising the products that pretty much everyone else is selling.
Mobile network Orange does appear to have avoided this particular trap with the opening last week of what it says is its first UK multimedia store in Milton Keynes. The store, like so many others, is designed to promote shopper “engagement”, except that in this instance, it may actually succeed in doing so. The store has a number of elements intended to make this a reality with the front of the store being occupied by a 70-inch cinema-style screen and seating area with a bouncy rubber floor as you walk in.
The screen is used for product demonstrations, education workshops and film previews, picking up on the in-store learning theme that has, broadly, been pioneered by Apple with its in-store Genius Bars.
There is also a “showcase screen” on the main wall, one of the UK’s largest, according to Orange. As well as providing more product information, the screen is host to a “virtual Mexican wave”. This turns out to be composed of shoppers filmed in the store, using mobile devices.
And if all of this is not enough, there are of course “live” handsets - something that is not so unusual in these 3G-tech and information-on-the-go savvy days.