Motorola enters eCommerce arena as mobile market continues evolution

Motorola is giving consumers the opportunity to purchase its products directly from its UK website, from today.

On the morning mobile retailer Phones 4U announced that it is heading for administration and the closure of hundreds of stores following the withdrawal of its key suppliers EE and Vodafone, Motorola said that its Moto G smartphone will be available directly from – the first time it has ventured into eCommerce.

Other products from the company's recently announced new portfolio are set to follow the Moto G onto the Motorola website in the near future.

It comes at a time of unprecedented change for the mobile sector in the UK, with Carphone Warehouse recently completing a merger with the country's largest electricals retailer, Dixons, and other mobile operators battling to provide new solutions and services to gain an advantage in a competitive market.

EE and Vodafone – as well as competitor O2 – are putting significant investment into developing their own store portfolios, with the businesses all looking at new ways to capitalise on the ever-growing consumer demand for mobile products.

Phones 4U, it would appear, is a casualty of this fast-changing marketplace, with retail analyst Neil Saunders suggesting that the acquisition of parts of its chain of stores by mobile operators cannot be ruled out.

"The example of Phones 4U is perhaps a salutary lesson to all retailers that they should be beware of being overly reliant on third party providers that are not within their ultimate control," explained Saunders, who is managing director of retail research group Conlumino.

"If retailing is about anything it's about adding value and creating strong USPs; that cannot be done, at least not sustainably, with a sole reliance on outside brands. As for Phones 4U itself, unless it can dramatically reconfigure its business, it looks likely that its place on the high street is well and truly disconnected."

All 720 Phones 4U stores have been closed today by the retailer's private equity parent firm BC Partners, and a message on the business's official website has a "heartbroken Phones 4U team" directing any customer queries to various technical support phone-lines.

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