Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Please [don't (?)] peek at Orange

This is a really poor quality photo (taken with my phone) of one of my local orange stores.  As you probably can't tell. The store is currently closed for a refit.  The entire front of the store is covered with black paper.  In large letters it says "hey, no peeking" and then there are some generic numbers you can call for more information.  On the other window (not shown) it says when the store will be reopening and has details of the nearest alternate store.

While I can appreciate that they are trying to have a sense of humour with the message being displayed. The entire store front basically says "go away".  This doesn't strike me as the best things they could have done with what's a potentially very valuable opportunity to engage with potential customers.

Why not take this opportunity to engage with potential new/future customers?
Instead of stopping people from seeing what you're doing why not show them?
Or better still, why not show them something that intrigues, entertains and encourages interest and word of mouth?

Here's what I'd do:
Instead of having paper covering the whole store front, I'd leave gaps and encourge people to look through.
I'd create the gaps at different heights (including very low and very high - deliberately making it harder for everyone to see everything) and behind each I'd have something different.  Behind some I'd have static images, promtions, info, etc.  I'd also have competitions and discounts avaialble on a text to win basis.  Any such prizes would of course be linked to discounts limited to the day of reopening.
But behind certain key gaps I'd have screens and while some may occasionally provide information on when the store will reopen the real value would be in having unique, entertaining footage.  This could be all sorts of things: It could look like the store was completely missing; what if it looked like the store was being filled with something completely ridiculous - animals, water, a ball pool?; it could look like people supposedly doing the refit but who suddenly break into dance.  The only limit would be imagination (oh and cost) but such footage could potentially be reused across multiple store refits and then made available online.
  • How many people just walk straight past a store that's closed for refit?
  • How many would stop to peek in if they thought they'd get to see something they normally wouldn't?
  • If you walked past a store that was obviously closed but had people clammering to peer in at the window, wouldn't you be at least slightly curious yourself?  Admit it, there's a bit of a voyeur in all of us.
  • Who's done something like this before? (in the UK?) Don't you think people would talk about it? And want to come and see for themselves?  And at the same time being educated about the reopening and the brand in general.

In that, as Orange, I'd know who had bought a phone there before or lived nearby and was shortly due an upgrade I'd email or SMS them (subject to previously expressed mailing preferences) to let them know a bit about some of the new phones that will be available when the store reopens.  I'd also, obviously, tell them when it would reopen. And I'd tell them to come and have a peek in the window to see what was going on while the refit was going on.

The aim would be to engage with [potential] customers, promote the newly refurbished store and encourage word of mouth that means that when the store reopens more people will be aware of it and be eager to see what has actually changed.

Well, that's what I'd do.

I hope the refit doesn't get rid of the fish tank they used to have.  Disappointinglyt that was often far more interesting than most of the phones there.

Oh and for the record, I've had (among others) a contract with Orange for more than 12 years, but I'm frequently starting to wonder why.


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