Sky is to open the first retail store in its 30-year history in Liverpool this week, in the hope that a presence on the high street will boost its commercial and customer care operations.
The company wants the stores to become a ‘social hub’ for customers to see and test out its latest products, including Sky Q, and to discuss their services with a member of staff.
An open-plan layout will be introduced in all locations, allowing for interactive experiences and easy conversations with advisors. Some locations will be able to offer in-store repairs thanks to a partnership with iSmash, giving the latter a greater footprint and visibility.
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The decision to launch now is contradictory to the current challenges faced by the high street due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the move signifies the growing importance of direct channels for mobile and broadband operators, as well as Sky’s maturity as a major player in the telecoms market.
Sky Mobile has managed to attract 1.5 million customers since it launched in late 2016, while it is ready to launch an ultrafast broadband service available to 2 million properties across the UK.
There are plans to open other locations later this year, with more planned for 2021. Sky stresses all Covid-19 safety measures, such as social distancing, face masks and hand sanitiser will be implemented.
“Our new Sky shops are a great way for us to showcase the amazing benefits and customer service we have to offer new and existing customers,” said Stephen van Rooyen, Sky UK & Ireland CEO. “We’re proud to see our shops opening at a challenging time for the UK high street, and alongside our partners at iSmash, we’ll bring service, innovation and convenience all in one place, under one roof, at a time when keeping people connected has never been more important.”
“We’re incredibly excited by our partnership with Sky and the launch of our new store in Liverpool,” added Julian Shovlin, Founder & Managing Director, iSmash.
“With both brands offering complimentary products and services, and an aligned approach to customer experience, we believe that this collaboration will bring tangible benefits to our business and customers, keeping them connected to the devices they love.”
Sky Mobile recently won Best MVNO at the 2020 Mobile Industry Awards, while iSmash won Best Repair Service.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.