Thursday 30th October 2008: O2 today announces the launch of its Retail Transformation Programme which will focus on changing the perception of mobile retailing by making it more convenient, accessible and easier to understand for customers. The programme will deliver an elevated level of service and a wider range of products. These elements, together with a new store environment that seamlessly links the worlds of the contemporary home and future technology, will help redefine O2 Retail from a traditional mobile phone shop, to a broader communications company that can meet the needs of the ‘connected world’.

The first visual manifestation of this ambition is the redesigning of O2’s retail stores. The new concept is set to truly evolve the format of retailing communication products and help improve the way in which customers interact with the brand and its products.

Selected O2 stores will be sporting a fresh new look over the next few months. As part of a multi-million pound campaign, 150 stores by the end of 2009 will undergo a complete re-fit to make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for, providing them with a more pleasurable shopping experience and maximising sales opportunities.

Stephen Shurrock, Consumer Sales Director, explains: “We want to give customers the ultimate experience helping them connect with other people at any time, anywhere, whatever they do. Our retail stores are our first point of communication with our customers – it’s therefore imperative that when they walk in they feel welcomed by our staff and comfortable in their surroundings so they can browse the store in a relaxed and helpful environment.”

The new stores have been designed to provide a welcoming space to make customers feel more at ease. A relaxed and inviting lounge area, centred around a coffee table and large plasma screen, is ideal for product demonstrations. It will also provide a space for O2’s ‘It’s Your Community’ programme to present its grants to local project groups.

The strategy to create a complete ‘connected world experience’ is brought alive by the physical layout of the product ranges. All products are displayed live, with phones connected to accessories, such as headphones, printers and speakers. This encourages customers to interact with the products and truly discover the world of O2.

During 2009 O2’s training budget will double with focus on a highly trained, special team called O2 Gurus which will be rolled out in 25 stores by the end of the year. Their role is to provide the ultimate customer experience and develop every customer’s relationship with the brand. Each guru will have the necessary knowledge to answer any technical questions the customer has about O2 products, from mobile phones and broadband, through to future innovations before they launch.

Approachable, skilled people will be happy to demonstrate and discuss the latest handsets and gadgets. However, the introduction of a ‘self service’ table enables customers to check their own account, top up, and buy O2 event tickets, all by themselves. So the service on offer can be as hands-on or light touch as the customer needs.

The first store to undergo the re-fit under the Retail Transformation Programme is Manchester’s recently launched Arndale centre store which is now open for anyone to visit. O2 has been careful to ensure that these stores are in the right locations to draw customers in and allow them to better experience the ‘connected world’.

Over the next few months this programme will roll out in stores across the UK such as Nottingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Ipswich and Northampton.

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