We visit the brand new 3-in-1 Dixons Carphone shop on London’s Oxford Street – said to be the retailer’s most digitally connected store. Sean Hannam reports
Dixons Carphone has opened a new 6,000 square foot flagship ‘3-in-1’ Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse shop on London’s Oxford Street.
Said to be the retailer’s “most digitally connected store”, it has been designed to appeal to busy London shoppers who want the convenience of purchasing and taking away premium products.
Manned by 65 staff, the store, which is on two floors, has several hi-tech displays, including a 4K digital feature wall made up of more than 20 square metres of LED screens and claimed to be the largest screen on Oxford Street.
There is also a headphone wall and a ‘sound shower’ for consumers to experience noise-cancelling headphones.
As well as computing, mobile and connected devices, the shop is heavily focused on accessories, including charging and storage devices and smartwatches. There is also a smart-home fixture and an interactive digital imaging area, where consumers can get hands-on with cameras.
A full range of Apple products is available in-store and there are also shop-in-shop areas for Dyson and coffee brand Nespresso. Small kitchen appliances feature heavily and service is a major part of the new store, with a combined PC World Business and Knowhow consultation area, which is also fitted with charging points that can be used by customers. There are mobile pay points around the store and staff are equipped with tablets.
Speaking at a press preview event for the new store, Dixons Carphone chief executive Sebastian James said: “We expect our brand new Oxford Street flagship store to take around £25 million over the course of the year. Service is getting more and more important and we want to be the place you come to get everything fixed – your phone or your computer. We also want to be a place where, if you buy something from us, it comes to life because we add the services that make that true. Connectivity is at the forefront of what we do – both in your home and mobile, which is critically important.”
Mr James said that during the course of this year, Dixons Carphone would be rolling out 206 Apple store-in-store areas in its shops: “This is a massive change in Apple’s strategy as regards to us – we have become much more central to their overall distribution strategy.”
Dixons Carphone is also planning to open 76 Dyson shop-in-shops in its stores and will increase the number of its Nespresso shop-in-shop areas from eight to 22.
Said Mr James: “I’m very excited to be opening our new Oxford Street store, which brings together our latest thinking in Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse on the high street. Oxford Street is one of the most iconic shopping destinations in the world and it seems apt that we are launching a flagship store here. We have designed a real destination store that’s full of innovation and technology firsts that I’m sure our customers will love.”
He added: “The retail environment continues to evolve and we know that our customers are incredibly discerning, so we need to provide an exciting, engaging and connected shopping experience, combined with competitive pricing and excellent service. We hope our customers will agree that Oxford Street provides all that and more and we look forward to helping them in-store.”
Asked whether Dixons Carphone had any plans to open a large smart-home retail space, similar to the new 1,000 square foot area in the John Lewis Oxford Street store, Mr James told ERT: “We’re not sure that having a 1,000 square foot room set is the right way to deal with the smart home. We find that the smart home is made up of a number of different categories – security, the home environment – lighting and heating – and fitness and wellness. We think that the best way to present that to customers is to show them how those things work in separate areas. Customers don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘what I really need today is a smart home’.”
Commenting on the new flagship Oxford Street store, Neil Hollins, Dixons Carphone’s executive director for format and business change, said: “This store is the little brother of our ‘large box’ concept at Hedge End in Southampton, which brings all our connectivity and service stories to life. We’re shrinking it down into a high-street format and putting service at the heart of the proposition, which we think is fitting for high-footfall, high-density locations where we have good traffic.”