EE joins forces with Sainsbury’s Argos

EE has announced it is increasing its fleet of stores by 116 through a partnership with Sainsbury’s.

The mobile network operator will increased its store estate to almost 700 over the next two years, with 16 new concessions in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, as well as a further 100 tie-ups with Argos. The new stores will create 400 new retail jobs in Sainsbury’s and Argos.

“We provide some of the best customer service of any mobile operator in the UK, and we’ve learned there’s no substitute for getting help from an expert in person,” said EE CEO Marc Allera. “I know our customers prefer to talk to real people in our UK and Ireland call centres rather than receiving help from a bot, which is where many other companies are investing. We’re investing in more people in our customer service teams, more stores for them to serve customers from, and exciting new technology that will help our teams provide even better service.”

Ettienne Brandt, MD of channels and trading at EE, told Essential Retail this concession strategy is the “evolution of retail”.

He also said the Sainsbury’s Argos brand complements EE’s values around customer experience, noting how Argos also over indexes in tech-savvy customers and families.

“As companies we work well together and it’s the right sort of footfall and customer experience.”

Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s closed 38 of its own Mobile by Sainsbury’s concessions and EE snapped up 16 of the sites.

“It’s the evolution of retail. You look at the big box stores and the supermarkets doing a lot of things themselves, but sometimes it’s better being with people who are really good and experts, rather than doing everything yourself,” said Brandt. “We will always do a better job at running those shops and serving those customers.”

As well as the new smaller format concession stores, EE is launching four ‘Showcase’ stores in Westfield White City, Westfield Stratford, Tottenham Court Road and Nottingham Victoria. These stores will be 50% bigger than a typical EE store and will feature help hubs as well as more space to display 4K TVs and its BT TV and broadband offering.

The ‘Showcase’ stores will also have video calling technology from BT, where customers can be connected with tech experts in the call centre if store staff cannot solve their query. When trialled, the video conferencing technology scored an MPS score of 100%.