Dixons Carphone opened a new flagship store on London’s Oxford Street today, showcasing a new experimental store format. As part of its three-in-one retail expansion, the store sells products from Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World. Innovation Researcher Lamorna Byford went to the launch to find out more.
Through an amalgamation of intelligent design, carefully selected products and the right technology, the new Dixons Carphone flagship demonstrates an excellent execution of innovative physical retail.
Spread over two floors, the space has been designed to reflect the cutting edge technology that it sells. On walking into the store, tall, eye-catching screens show slick films promoting products like Fitbit wearables and Bose speakers. Small round, wooden tables at the foot of the escalators display popular products such as drones, speakers and kitchen equipment, encouraging consumers to venture upstairs. Design features like circular lighting above the doorway suggest a more curated and premium experience than many technology stores offer. The centrepiece is a 45 square metre digital feature wall showcasing various products on sale in the store.
As well as thoughtful design, the curated selection of products delivers everything that a flagship should. Downstairs, there is a wall stacked with well-displayed Fitbits and other wearables, while upstairs customers can browse the latest in Internet of Things security appliances, including connected systems like Canary and the smart thermostat Nest. Using iPads in a comfortable seating area, the omnichannel area connects browsers with Dixon Carphone’s online presence, allowing them to explore an even wider range than is available in store.
Last year, Google partnered with the retailer to open its first branded store inside Currys PC World. The Google zone has enabled customers to explore new gadgets within the Android and Chrome range and to rediscover what Google can offer on existing devices. In 2014, Dixons Carphone introduced an updated store design in Thurrock with a softer approach to layout that encouraged browsing, entertainment and discovery. The new Oxford Street store shows that Dixons Carphone are keen to continue a more relaxed approach to product discovery and exploration.
The flagship has an interactive and advisory element, with customers able to choose music on an iPad to play through several different speakers and test different Dyson vacuum cleaners on a variety of floor types. To simplify the customer journey, the photography section has been arranged around shopper missions, rather than product, with clear signage such as ‘point and shoot’ and ‘tough’ guiding customers to the right cameras for them. In addition to helpful POS and signage, staff expertise is being championed within the store, which includes a dedicated business centre delivering tailored advice, as well as dedicated staff from GoPro and tech support specialists Knowhow for more thorough recommendations.
Finally, if all that trying before you buy gets too exhausting, the friendly staff at the sleek new Nespresso bar will make you a coffee to demonstrate the wide range of coffee makers on offer. They were even kind enough to charge my phone for me, while I sipped on my complimentary coffee, ate the free jellybeans they were handing out and asked questions about various devices. In my opinion, the customer journey doesn’t get much better than that.