Mobile phone and electricals retailer Carphone Warehouse (CPW) has this week opened itself up to the business community with the launch of a new website and a dedicated service to sole traders and small to medium-sized enterprises.
Typically a consumer-facing company, CPW now aims to provide competitive mobile phone tariffs and a range of network, tablet and other handset deals and advice to commercial customers across the UK.
Businesses will also be able to benefit from the development of a dedicated CPW customer service team, offering guidance on the latest technology products and systems purchased through the firm.
Innovations in mobile technology and the wide adoption of smartphone and tablet devices in the last year is partly behind the retailer’s decision to expand its offering, with many firms keen to invest in new technology to maintain relevance in their marketplace.
Chief Commercial Officer at CPW Graham Stapleton told Retail Gazette: “The advent of technology has certainly helped focus us on this opportunity.
“CPW already has a significant smartphone business, as well as a growing tablet proposition to complement it.
“We see ourselves as experts in this field, meaning the opportunity for businesses has just got even bigger – we couldn’t ignore it.”
The new site launched on Wednesday and offers business customers the opportunity to purchase tech products and phones online, but the company is also undertaking a business-to-business (B2B) trial in 27 stores nationwide.
In-store training has been tailored to prepare staff for the new operation, and workers are prepared for the arrival of a new type of customer.
“We weren’t set up to deliver for businesses before as we couldn’t deliver everything they needed,” Stapleton explained.
“But the company envisages that the mid to long-term future will see dedicated business sections introduced across all stores.”
Separate stations are already reserved in many stores for tech support providers Geek Squad, a concept introduced in CPW outlets as a direct result of its partnership with US electricals specialist Best Buy, and now commercial customers will also be able to benefit from their expertise when purchasing products.
Recent CPW Europe trading figures have been strong, with headline EBIT up 18 per cent and like-for-like sales up 0.9 per cent last year thanks largely to continued consumer interest in smartphones; now the company eyes huge potential within the British business market.
Stapleton said: “We’re really excited about B2B – we’re putting a lot of investment and resource into it and this will be one of the top things we do this year.”