Mobile phone retailing is still a crowded and competitive marketplace and to be able to hold your own and prosper is difficult.
We know consumers have turned to online shopping en-masse, but research has also revealed that human beings love to interact with other humans and thus prefer to shop in-store. All our shortlisted contenders have not just wowed consumers with their range of stores, but also impressed them with the breadth of product found within.
This year Carphone Warehouse was the undisputed king of the high street. As far as mobile phone retailing is concerned there are few that can compare with the extensive store portfolio and depth of choice which Carphone can boast. The retailer offers a wide range of devices and service providers, whether customers are shopping online or in store. The pinpoint system which the retailer prides itself on has continued to pay dividends by communicating to customers the benefits of buying from an independent retail chain. There is nowhere else on the high street where a customer can examine what the best deal for them is with such ease and simplicity. Not only that, when the big events in the mobile calendar came around, Carphone Warehouse was inevitably the place to go to for the best deals. From the launch of the two latest iPhones to the madness of Black Friday, there really has been nowhere that rival Carphone on the British high street.
The UK’s biggest network was typically on-point this year in delivering good deals on popular devices through its many stores. The network also stood out thanks to its fresh attempts to introduce its other services in interesting ways; offering store visitors the chance to sample its EE TV service from the comfort of a big green sofa, for example.
For O2 it was another year of consistency in its retail outlets; customers know what they’re getting when they step into an O2 store. In particular, the operator offered some great deals in connection with the new iPhone launch. The operator’s Refresh programme was expanded to give customers the opportunity to upgrade products other than their phone if they wanted to. O2 was a great place to buy wearables too, with the data sharer tariff allowing customers to spread their contract across multiple cellular enabled devices.
A lot more Vodafone stores have popped up in towns up and down the country in the past year as the operator significantly increased its retail presence in a number of new towns and cities. Many of these new stores came with fancy new interiors which replaced the ‘phone on the wall’ feel of the older stores. The network also adopted a new identity this year as a challenger brand, a move that was reflected in some great value pricing, particularly on 4G plans.
Three stores have always seemed to be ahead of their time. This year the operator gave these outlets another facelift and the effect has once again been powerful. The new ice white interiors are clean and no-nonsense, showing off the products as well as anywhere on the high street. The carefully selected array of phones on offer gives customers exactly what they need with a minimum of fuss. The network’s efforts to open up stores for community events after-hours has also contributed to the sense that this is a retailer that really knows its customers.