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Brief Published: 27 Jan 2016

O2 Reimagines Mobile Phone Store as Edu-Tech Hub

O2 Store Manchester

British telecoms services provider O2 is gunning to revolutionise tech retailing with two new concept stores focused on experiential customer service and teaching/inspiration areas for dissecting cutting-edge tech. 

Designed by UK agency Dalziel & Pow and located in Manchester and London, the stores are larger than the usual O2 outlets and aim to shake off the sector's traditionally staid, utilitarian tech store design by marrying technology with lifestyle. 

Communal Testing: A giant wooden ‘community table’ equipped with tablets and magazines invites visitors to interact with each other while browsing or working (see also Commuter Commerce). Meanwhile, ‘Inspire Zones’ offer relaxed areas to test new technologies such as virtual reality or connected home devices alongside mobile phones.

Tutorials Lounge: A casual lounge area enables visitors to charge their phones wirelessly, drink coffee or participate in tech tutorials held by ‘O2 gurus’. Topics range from teaching parents how to keep their children safe online, to how to connect different devices together. 

Revised Sales Model: In a conscious revision of the industry’s standard commission-based model, all 54 new employees across the two stores have received bespoke training prioritising exceptional customer service over sales – rewards will be based solely on service. For more on this, see Female-Focused Retail (The Empathy Sell). 

Flexible Settings: Echoing the pacey digital landscape, the store itself changes monthly via themed takeovers signalled on interactive wallboards in the Inspire zone and four storefront ad screens.

For more on this approach, see Microsoft's Debut Flagship, Intel’s In-Store Experience and Selling Technology. See also Sephora’s Edutainment Flagship and Edutainment Retailing.