In Antwerp, Telenet Mobile has introduced a brand new, highly innovative shopping concept. Experience is key in the Telenet SmartSpot. Consumers can make use of various types of assistance to help them choose the right communication devices, fee schemes and accessories. Technology plays a decisive role in this, under the direction of DOBIT.
Marc Bruers, DOBIT’s CEO, spells it out. “The Telenet SmartSpot is a very ambitious concept. Telenet’s intention is to put a clear and palpable emphasis on its unique position in the world of mobile communication. At the same time, it is a laboratory for Telenet itself as well as for its existing and prospective customers. The company uses the Telenet SmartSpot to evaluate innovative sales approaches, and visitors are challenged to look at mobile communication from a new point of view. That has led to some surprising results for both: you discover things you never knew you were looking for.”
Telenet Mobile opened the SmartSpot concept store in July 2011, at the central Antwerp location of Meirbrug. Beyond the open and inviting exterior lies a shopping concept in which absolutely nothing has been left to chance. Visitors are provided with a range of tools to help them decide what they need, or which they can use to find additional information. Marc Bruers explains. “Mobile communication, telephony and internet are rapidly changing economic sectors. The market is continually flooded with new devices, new technologies and new fee schemes, all of which make it very complicated for consumers to make rational choices. Sometimes it makes people give up trying altogether. We want the Telenet SmartSpot to function as an understandable guide for Telenet customers. To this end, our primary approach has included efficient use of technological equipment such as touch screens, digital signage, holography and directional sound.”
DOBIT: challenging project
“For a number of reasons, this was one of the most challenging projects that we have ever taken on, but it is also among the ones I am most proud of,” says DOBIT manager Marc Bruers. “In terms of technology we were able to exploit virtually all of our knowledge, competence and experience. There are integrated touch screens, but also digital signage and directional speakers. We put our electronics specialists to work on made-to-measure applications, and we called in the help of our software partners for content.” “The entire company was involved in the preparations and production processes for the SmartSpot. Telenet Mobile needed a competent partner who would be able to deliver outstanding results in all areas - conceptual development, technology and logistics - and to overcome the particular challenges of each. A general concept was already in place for the store, but that still required a technological overlay, and there were stringent requirements with respect to budget, stability, usability and feasibility. We had to turn dreams into reality, and there was no room for compromise. More than once our engineers were set seemingly impossible tasks, but DOBIT was always able to come up with a solution.”
Technology with a goal in mind
“The SmartSpot concept is very much a new, exploratory shopping concept rather than a marketing trick. Every aspect of the POS environment has been consciously assembled to result in optimal customer experience and maximum conversion,” DOBIT account manager Philip Van den Driessche confirms. “In 2012, consumers expect clear answers and straightforward advice, and they are quick to sense when they are being taken advantage of. Telenet Mobile’s intention is that the SmartSpot will result in the best possible level of customer satisfaction for the longest possible period. That requires a personal approach. At the same time, Telenet Mobile is committed to cost efficiency, and consequently our proposal made optimal use of effective technologies. Customers do as much as possible themselves, although Telenet Mobile staff are always at hand should they need assistance.”
At your service ...
How does the SmartSpot work? Philip Van den Driessche explains. “The first thing you see when you walk into the SmartSpot is the ‘Who wall’, which is the first help station. Three 46” Elo touch screens help customers make a primary selection from among the huge assortment of devices on offer. After entering information about things like multi-media habits, text messaging preferences and budget, they are shown three devices which they can then examine in detail at the ‘Which site’. There is one 10” screen for every two devices displayed there; when the customer picks up one of those devices, the screen shows all of its specifications.” “Customers can find information about other Telenet products on an additional screen. For specialist assistance they can visit the Smart Care Corner, where a holographic projection links them directly to the specialist team of advisers at the Telenet headquarters in Mechelen. That is an impressive experience: you see a life-sized, 3D image and can use it to actually interact with the specialist. You can even make eye contact. Sound Shower speakers provide perfect sound. This is truly the only set-up of this kind anywhere in the world. And it is definitely an added value in terms of privacy, since only the person asking the questions can hear the answers. Of course, staff are also available in the store to help people decide what they need.”
Ideas brought to life in Antwerp
The project has been completed. The store has opened. And it works. But that did not happen by itself. As Marc Bruers says, “Telenet Mobile needed a reliable partner with enough expertise for technical work as well as for content. They did not make any snap decisions. For Telenet Mobile, the SmartSpot is a prestige project with a zero margin of error. We were able to prove to Telenet that we had the relevant knowledge, a wide range of technologies and the necessary technical competence for the project. In addition, they appreciated the way we thought along with them and helped to keep everything on the right track.” “Before this project took off, there was a long period in which issues were worked out in detail, budgets set, plans made. Once the blueprints were ready and we were given the go-ahead for work, we were down to barely six weeks until the SmartSpot was set to open. Realisation of the plan went off without a hitch thanks to our excellent project management skills and to perfect coordination of the collaboration between internal and external partners. And the enormous commitment of staff, of course. But when it was ready, it was really ready: on schedule, on budget and precisely in line with the quality we had promised. DOBIT’s no-nonsense attitude to business ensures that we never promise more than we can deliver. And that was a major issue on this project. But we got it done.”
What are you w8ing for?
“The SmartSpot has been open in Antwerp for a while now and the first reactions have been wildly positive. Average customer appreciation of the store is very high. We are seeing that they do use the interactive tools that we have provided for them. And, importantly, the average value per customer is notably higher than that of other Telenet Mobile stores. This experiment will continue, but it is already a success.”