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JOHANNESBURG – Vodacom is launching the first of its kind store of the future in Fourways and Midrand that will introduce customers to a store that is digital-first and energy efficient while driving a seamless retail experience. Merging the physical with the digital, Vodacom's innovative 'phygital' store will evolve to respond to customer needs and future retail trends, cementing the technology company's position as a market leader both locally and across the continent.
Vodacom's Insights and research identified the key opportunities and considerations for the localised store design. Co-creation and collaboration with business partners, store owners and customers informed the design and interactive customer journey, where the "bricks and mortar meet digital" model will showcase Vodacom's products, services and solutions.
Bringing this store vision to life is a passionate Vodacom Retail Operations team guided by strong female executive leadership who could offer diverse perspectives in understanding what truly matters to all customers. Using their combined expert skills and knowledge, the team have created a retail experience that is customer focused, differentiated and sets the benchmark in the industry.
"We found ourselves with an exciting, yet challenging task of designing a blueprint of the store of the future that has never been done before. The store seeks to bridge the gap between the digital and physical shopper experience," says Samantha Botha Managing Executive of Retail Operations at Vodacom.
Vodacom's research indicated that customers want a self-service retail experience that empowers them to engage with the technology, transact, and seek assistance from retail staff only if needed. Walking into these new Vodacom stores, customers will be greeted with a wide-open, welcoming design that encourages them to experience everything in their vicinity. Whether it's exploring the latest devices, financial services, SME solutions, prepaid offerings, or fibre deals, customers will be spoiled for choice in their ability to interact with Vodacom products, services and solutions.
The new stores' seamless capabilities and solutions feature in-store touch screens that allow customers to book appointments, scan through Vodacom's catalogue, secure the best package for their budget and so much more. Although staff will always be on hand, customers can use the express self-checkout kiosks to buy airtime, pay their accounts, browse new devices, and check upgrade eligibility. Customers will be able access the store benefits 24/7 through the self-service facility located at the front of the store.
The Store of the Future takes inspiration from Vodacom World in Midrand, which was transformed into the first digitally connected mall in Africa. At Vodacom World, which is considered Vodacom's innovation hub, tech and digital capabilities are trialed and tested before being rolled out across the footprint.
Beyond being retail outlets, the stores will offer advice, information, and connected solutions for businesses of all sizes, including SMEs and start-ups.
The new stores are also in line with Vodacom's 'Red Loves Green' philosophy, in which business success and consumer satisfaction can run in tandem with a commitment to the environment. Every effort has been made to make sure that the new stores deliver a unique retail experience to consumers, while being environmentally friendly.
Each store uses design principles to reduce waste and minimise the maintenance of furniture, shop fittings and assets. Sustainable materials like responsibly sourced timber and low-toxic paints have been used, while sensors have been installed to locate any water leaks. During the build stage, 80% of all waste was recycled and a dedicated waste and recycling management plan applied.
"Vodacom has created a store model that is more than a consumer interaction; it is a retail customer focused experience like no other. It is also a community and insights hub that we hope will help connect our customers to enhance all aspects of their digital life," says Miguel Simoes, Regional Managing Executive at Vodacom.
"We want to go further together through harnessing the power of technology and invite you to come on this journey with us," concludes Botha.