The U.K.’s biggest mobile operator, EE, offers customers an immersive experience at its updated “showcase” store concept.
The format, created by retail design consultancy Quinine, highlights the company’s network, products and services while moving the brand beyond traditional mobile into the “quad” play sector. (Quad play describes U.K. providers that provide broadband internet access and television, fixed land line phones along with dual-mode mobile phones that can switch automatically to use Wi-Fi networks when they are in range.).
The format marries human behavior with the physical environment to give a multi-layered experience that invites customers to get involved with the latest technology and network innovations. Along with exploring the latest mobile devices, customers can try live products such Google Home and Samsung's VR headsets.
"We based the store concept around an aesthetic called “show time”, a theatrical design language, which uses a large scale and proportion with dramatic lighting for all product displays and service experiences,” said Ian Johnston, founder of Quinine. “At the same time we were keen not to make it appear 'hard-edged' and too technological. We softened the space by adding more raw and human elements and introduced a conversational tone of voice.”
Entering the store, customers are greeted with EE's showcase stage, a multi-functional display space that can be used for a variety of physical and digital experiences. Associates EE use the large digital screens and display props to engage with customers and encourage interaction with technology. The plan is for the installations to change out every three to six weeks, keeping the store fresh and the content current and relevant.
In other store highlights, a dedicated “Help Hub” customer service area and experiential zones give customers the chance to get a hands-on experience with the latest tech. Digital projections behind the Help Hub show animated icons that tell service stories.
In order to increase customer dwell time and provide more opportunities to browse new products and services, traditional devices (mobile devices and tablets) are located at the back of the store. An illuminated wall and dramatic oversized product displays maintain the focus and lure customers to browse, select and compare.
A simple materials palette creates a warm, familiar but modern feel throughout the space. European white oak and felt-like upholstered seating indicate service areas. While metal, powder coated in the brand colors (aqua and yellow), pop and lift a subtle palette of grey, black and white walls.
Dynamic signage helps customers navigate the space and adds a fresh and friendly tone. A brand wall features a local hand drawn sketch of the area, with icons to underline the network capabilities, directly connecting the store to the local community.
To date, EE’s showcase format has been rolled out in five locations, with three in London, including Westfield Stratford City and Westfield White City.