Dixons Carphone is full of fascinating idiosyncrasies, something of an inevitability given it’s the result of the merging of a number of huge, well-established British high street names.
Any company that – with a straight face – brands its retail megastores Currys PC World Carphone Warehouse is, by definition, thinking differently. But, despite the mouthful, these stores are critically important to the ongoing success of the tech retailer.
At a time when high street retailers were falling victim to the unprecedented rise of online retailers, Dixons Carphone had to focus on its strengths to survive – bricks and mortar and a knowledgeable workforce.
Toby Kheng, Consumer Electronics Training Specialist for Dixons Carphone, explained why the company is so proud of its workforce.
“One of things that we’re continually talking about in terms of our business strategy is our people – that’s something that you don’t get when you’re shopping online; advice and guidance from an actual live person.”
Toby added: “The experience of feeling, touching and seeing the products in-store is critical for us. One area that I work – TVs – seeing is really believing.
“You can’t see how good the picture quality of a TV is going to be through a computer screen, that’s impossible.
“We have the opportunity to show the picture in-store. And that extends across all of the categories, from live kitchens to smart-tech areas.”
“You name me somewhere else where you can go to see that”, added Toby defiantly.
And he’s right, the size and scale of Dixons Carphone’s retail presence lends itself perfectly to the model it’s using.
In terms of how it keeps its colleagues up to date on the latest and greatest, Toby admitted that it’s a constant work in progress.
Toby’s team helps stay one step ahead of the market by having a number of different communication channels to reach colleagues: an online learning management system, a regularly printed publication delivered directly to stores and engaging learning events.
But before any material is made available to colleagues, there must be a business case for it.
Toby explained: “It’s making sure that every decision made by the business is done for a reason, it’s not just done on a whim. A lot of that comes from customer insight data. And actually asking: ‘What are customers after? What are they saying?’
“All of these executions that we do in-store aren’t put in place because head office thinks it’s a good idea, it all stems from the customer and colleague feedback.
“We’re trying to make sure that all our interventions are measurable and that we assess the impact – it needs to add value to our business.”
For Britain’s leading electrical retailer, bricks-and-mortar sales still make up around three quarters of its business – a clear endorsement for its people-first approach.