EE has unveiled four newly designed ‘Showcase’ stores which aim to offer an immersive experience for in-store customers.

The three trial stores in London and one in Nottingham have dedicated zones for different types of customer journeys and make use of large-scale digital screens for promoting the latest handset and allowing customers to check EE’s network in their local area.

This latest investment into store formats follows a 100-store partnership with Sainsbury’s Argos, as well as pop-up shops and mobile vans which ensures 95% of the UK populations is a 20 minute drive away from an EE store.

“Our new Showcase stores are about creating a destination where customers can speak to a real expert face-to-face to solve any problems, charge their device, or just have some fun while immersing themselves in the latest gadgets,” said Ettienne Brandt, MD of channels and trading at EE.

“There’s no substitute for getting help from an expert in person and we’re mixing technology with the personal touch to make customers feel as supported as possible.”

Showcase

On entering the store, customers are greeted with a six-foot tall interactive screen which highlights a ‘stage’. This area of the store is used to showcase the latest technology, such as Google Home or Apple Watch. When Essential Retail visited the store, the stage was demonstrating EE’s promotion of a free six month Apple Music subscription. Using an Xbox Kinect hooked up to bespoke software customers can dance on the stage and the character on the stage mimics their moves.

Help Hub & video conferencing

Specialist advisors are available at ‘Help Hubs’ which feature power points and bespoke tablets which store staff can talk through price plans and other queries. If a customer has a technical problem that cannot be solved in store, new video calling capabilities can be offered where the store staff and customer can sit and speak to an EE employee in the Merthyr Tydfil call centre. The video link allows customers to see the specialist service expert as well as share bills on the tablet’s screen which all parties can annotate when trying to solve the problem.

The select zone

As more and more customers enter a phone shop with their desired model in mind, choosing a device has become a less prominent part of the ‘new phone’ experience for many consumers. This is one reason the new EE design is modular, so different parts of the customer journey can be added or removed or enhanced as time goes on.

While the ‘Showcase’ zone is the first thing customers see on entering the store, EE’s ‘Select’ zone offers the space for customers wanting to touch and try-out handsets as well as large touch screens to help customers find their phone if they aren’t already fully-fledged members of the Apple or Samsung Club.

Content champion

EE worked with BT’s wholesale and ventures division to create digital signage for a variety of uses, including interactive displays and a centralised content management system.

EE said: “The whole experience is designed to provide a rich, engaging experience for consumers – much more akin to what they might experience online.”

Another section of the store is dedicated to an 86-inch TV, which provides sample content from EETV and BT TV on a variety of screens.