O2 has launched a concept store, which aims to move away from the traditional phone shop and towards interactive experiences.
The phone network provider has launched the new store in Manchester, which is three times the size of a typical O2 store.
Two concept stores
Consultancy Dalziel & Pow designed the 214m2 shop, and will be rolling out a second store in London’s Westfield White City later this month.
It includes more floor space, with relaxation areas and hubs to try new technology.
Simon Parkes, design director at Dalziel & Pow, says the interior design is “relaxed, agile and social”, and “breaks away from what a traditional mobile phone shop looks like”.
Relax, try out new technology and take tutorials
It includes interactive “inspire zones”, which allow customers to try out technology such as virtual reality and connected home devices alongside typical mobile phones, and a lounge area offering hot drinks and wireless mobile charging.
This relaxation area also includes wallboards with details on O2 Priority gigs of the month and events on that week.
There is a central bench area where customers can read magazines, and browse products on tablets.
The shop also holds technology tutorials, which will cover practical and more broad-ranging topics, such as how to keep children safe online, how to connect different devices together and how to use technology to get fit.
It also currently holds an area where customers can explore technology used within the recent Star Wars movie.
Welcoming people on other networks
The store aims to give customers the chance to use the store as they wish, “whatever their network”, says Parkes.
This includes “[having] a complimentary coffee and working remotely on laptops, hearing about the latest local music events, charging phones or taking a workshop”, he says.
Bridget Lea, general manager at O2, adds that the aim is for the new concept stores to become the “destination of choice for customers to be excited about the possibilities of technology”.
O2 has said there are currently no plans to roll out the concept beyond the two Manchester and London stores.