Saturday, 30 June 2007

Orange vs Phones4U: 0-1

I recently went shopping at Trafford Centre ( and while I was shopping I decided to get a top-up for my Orange "Pay As You Go" mobile phone. Having 3 mobile phones and a Blackberry, I don't need monthly subscriptions for all my mobiles.
So, I first went to the Orange shop for what should have been a quick transaction. I give them £10 and they give me a "code" ... sounds pretty simple. The Orange shop looked pretty slick but strangely the focus didn't seem to be on doing business. There was close to no staff. When I entered the shop I initially saw 3 members of staff, but a few minutes later 2 of them disappeared in the back of the shop, resulting in one member of staff needing to handle all customer requests, sales, etc. I started queuing but after a few minutes I gave up.
I intended on getting my top-up on my next Tesco visit, but then I walked across a Phones4U shop. Intrigued by the place I decided to step inside. This place was completely different from the Orange shop I had just been to. The shop look pretty ugly, but the focus was definitely on doing business. Instead of slick in-store displays most of the shop consisted out of tables at which "sales staff" help you straight away. It took me less than one minute to get my top-up. The sales guy tried to up-sell me a subscription package but wasn't pushy in any way.
Very different strategies at work and different business models, but still if you are paying for staff why don't you try to optimise the return and make sure that selling is facilitated?