T-Mobile opened a new shop in the Shopping Centre of Zličín in late July this year. The new shop is packed with digital platforms and interactive equipment.
My colleague Daniela Stewart had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions about the new revolutionary branch office of T-Mobile in an interview with Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications
Immediately behind the entrance there is an LCD display of non-standard format attracting customers to come in.
In the centre of the shop there are two multi-touch displays in the horizontal position like tables. One allows for browsing through the tariffs and their comparisons, and the other is designed for entertainment and is equipped with music, ringing sounds and videos to download.
There are three more touch screens on the walls presenting the shop offer from accessories via telephone apparatuses to tariffs. Another large LCD screen with directed sound feature broadcasts advertising spots, news and tips for customers.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: We recently interviewed your colleague, Ms. Lucia Tarbajovská, about the 3D screens you have deployed in three of your Prague shops. Have you already evaluated this pilot project in any way?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:We have evaluated numbers of visitors to our shops, records of the shop assistants, who note down all questions about the digital technology, and other members of our staff, who have monitored the screens and the happenings around them. These data are hard to interpret, as they are very soft. It is difficult to specify whether the visitors came in the large numbers because of the digital imaging technology or for other reasons.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: Following the words of CEO of T-Mobile, Mr. Miroslav Rakowski, the main feature of the branch office is the freedom of movement. The recently launched new branch office of the Czech Post also emphasizes this feature as the main element of the new concept. Why is it so important?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:T-Mobile is a lifestyle brand harmonising with our claim “For Common Experiences”. That is why experiences and contacts are already important in the shop. Zličín is an experiment, which breaks the barriers between the customers and the shop assistants, who can be in close and permanent contact. The other shops only have a single contact point at the counter.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: This suggests another question: What is the reaction of your employees, for this certainly means more work for them.
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:To tell the truth the employees were not too enthusiastic in the beginning, for they lost their chair to sit down on and their background. Nevertheless I believe they finally coped with this, when they were instructed about the philosophy of the new branch. The motivation and the objectives of these shop assistants are also different from those of the staff of the other shops.
This is the pilot shop. The first similar shop was launched in Germany, the second in England and we are the third in the row. More shops of this kind are going to be launched in other European countries. Then we will be able to compare changes in customer behaviour and in staff motivation. After the pilot period we will assess whether to open more similar shops or not.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia:Will you assess the pilot shop within the framework of the Czech Republic or on the European level?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:The project will be assessed in the framework of the whole group. But we all know that there are certain specifics in the individual countries. People in our country are for example used to take a brochure and go. The new shop also offers this brochure, but on request only, which make the customers interact.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: The new shop may leave an impression that it has mainly been designed for the young generation. People used to taking a brochure and leaving immediately will not know how to interact.
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:The question is who these older people are, for they mostly use the Twist tariff and do not visit the shops. The young generation does not visit the shops either for they do not offer any great experience. The shops are therefore focused on the middle-age group who represent the majority of the shoppers. A shop exclusively designed for young people has been launched in Berlin, where the shop also includes a music club interconnected with the shop.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: What are your greatest expectations concerning the new digital technologies?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:The first expectation is to attract attention and to draw the customer to the shop. If the visitor enters the technology should invite him/her to explore new things to get as far as the product offer. The new digital technology thus offers a new enriching experience to the customers.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: What is the planned breakeven for the initial investment? Do you for example think about acceleration of progress to the breakeven point by renting advertising time of the digital platforms?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:We have invested not only to the shop, but also to the brand. If one of the values of our brand is innovation, then we want to be innovative.
At present we have executed contracts with phone apparatus manufacturers on presentations of selected products as the “tip of the month”, when the apparatus will be displayed within the broadcasting loops.
Within the short-term horizon we do not plan to sell advertising time, but we certainly will not be against it in the long run. At present we also sell advertising space of our web portals and start targeted advertising focused on our customers. So if an advertiser wants to address for example males around 30 with a particular profile then he will be able to send them a SMS with his offer. This has already been publicly tested. Of course one of the future options is to increase the number of carriers of promotional messages with the very digital signage. We will have to carefully consider, though, whether the financial asset will not be exceeded by the negative aspect of the customer confusion when he/she sees another company advertisement when entering a T Mobile shop.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: The shop has been in operation for a couple of weeks now. Have you already received any customer responses?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:I could obtain some next week when we will go to visit the shop.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: What criteria should be met by the initial evaluation of the shop?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:We expect favourable business results such as increased number of visitors, increased number of questions asked and answered by the shop assistants, increased sales… Simply speaking, these hard metrics is what we expect. We further assume some support of customer relationship to the brand, increased loyalty and brand awareness.
The former may be simply measured. The latter is harder to measure and we still work on a methodology of measurement of that, perhaps we will use a questionnaire or any other survey method.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: If the pilot project proves to be successful, do you know how you would like to proceed?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:If the results of the hard and the soft metrics turn out to be good, we would like to open more shops of this kind next year.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: Can you see a future in digital marketing and communication? Say within the horizon of a decade?
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BTL and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile CR:I personally believe that Digital Signage will be a supportive element which should become an integral part of communication and promotion. I think that the number of digital platforms will keep increasing. But the goods displays will not be eliminated by this, for we will still need to touch the actual product and try it, which is not possible yet through the digital platforms.
Daniela Stewart, PR and Marketing Manager, SuperMedia: Thank you very much.
T-Mobile Czech Republic has been active on the Czech market since 1996. Since its incorporation it has placed emphasis on quality of the services offered and excellent care of its customers. As to 31 March 2009 the company served more than 5.4 million customers.
T-Mobile has been operator of a public mobile communications network with the GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz standard authorised to operate UMTS network. The company was the first to launch this third generation technology in the Czech Republic on 19 October 2005 under the name Internet 4G.
T-Mobile has been member of the international telecommunication group T-Mobile International. Thanks to the international background the customers can count on availability of services they are used to at home when they travel abroad, or make use of a single beneficial toll price.
Ing. Miroslav Jiřík, Senior Manager for BLT and Interactive Communications, T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s.
Ing. Jiřík took up the position of Senior Manager for BLT and Interactive Communications with T-Mobile Czech Republic in 2005, but he has been with the company since 2003 already. Two years before taking up this position he worked as Brand Manager with T-Mobile Czech Republic. Before that he had been Electronic Media Manager with Czech Telecom.
Miroslav Jiřík is a graduate of the College of Economics in Prague.