Pushing the right buttons
When it comes to serving the mobile phone market O2 is pushing all the right buttons with its franchised store concept, discovers Rachel Spaul
With a growing network of over 300 franchise and partner outlets in Germany and its first five franchisees trading in the UK, it appears O2's strategy for expansion is paying dividends. The latest franchise to open is in Irvine, Ayrshire, owned by Gordon and Yvonne Smith, and is the first franchised O2 store in Scotland.
As experienced managers Gordon and Yvonne decided that an O2 franchise would give them greater job satisfaction and a more agreeable work/life balance. On meeting the O2 franchise team they found them to be 'very professional, helpful and flexible in their approach'.
The store was officially opened in the second week of July with a 'Wheel of Fortune' prize giveaway and local marketing initiatives, organised by O2 as part of the franchise package. 'The first month was fantastic and exceeded expectations,' Gordon relates. 'But we couldn't have done it without the training and support from O2 - we couldn't have asked for more. The training was for six weeks in one of the local branches, which was invaluable. When the business opened we had full-time support for the first four weeks and now have access to experts in operations, marketing and IT.'
Gordon and Yvonne are typical of the people O2 is looking to recruit as franchisees. Mark Stansfeld, O2 Sales Director elaborates: 'We're seeking owner operator franchisees with at least £40,000 readily available and access to sufficient capital to fund the fit-out, stocking and working capital requirements for their own franchised O2 store. The franchise is based on O2's brand, its proven business systems and the O2 'can do' attitude. The franchisee is expected to bring their sales and management skills, commitment to the O2 customer experience, motivation, resources and local knowledge. O2's franchise package includes initial and ongoing training and guidance, marketing support and store systems. O2 expects its combined company-owned and franchised network to become one of the largest mobile telecommunications retail portfolios in the UK.
Commenting on O2's decision to franchise, Gordon and Yvonne said: 'Franchisees are delivering excellence within the business model because of their hands-on approach, local market knowledge and eye for detail. We can deliver customer service excellence, as demonstrated by our first mystery shop of 98 per cent. We're already working with O2 to identify premises for our second store and there may even be a third. We're thoroughly enjoying it.'