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John Lewis stores to sell mobile phones
Retailer John Lewis will enter the highly competitive UK telecoms market for the first time in a bid to fill a void left by the sudden collapse of former incumbent retailer Phones4U last September. Beginning today, customers can go to the John Lewis website to buy 25 mobile phones sans-contracts and from mid-August, two flagship stores – the one on Oxford Street, London and Cheadle Manchester – will begin offering contracts in a store as a pilot. If successful, the plan is to roll out the service to other stores around the country.
[related_videos title=”The best phones…” align=”right” type=”custom” videos=”614646,608203,605763,616170,604644,597284″] John Lewis plans to set itself apart from the competition – and provide a viable challenge to sole independent high street retailer Carphone Warehouse – by offering a standard two year warranty on all handsets and free insurance. The two year warranty also applies to Apple iPhones, which come with one year warranty by default. Given that customers currently opt to buy tablets and other electronics from John Lewis over other suppliers thanks to the additional warranty on offer, it’s hoped that the same offer will appeal to potential contract customers.
The firm will offer two plans on Vodafone in a bid to simplify the often complex search for a mobile phone contract: a low data tariff with unlimited free minutes and texts and a high data tariff, which also comes with unlimited free minutes and texts. The new mobile concessions stores will appear alongside similar concessions currently in place inside John Lewis stores and will be run by both John Lewis and Vodafone staff. For customers who want other plans, John Lewis will also be able to offer phones on any Vodafone contract.
Buying Director Johnathan Marsh said:
‘We’ve got a very strong technology business, and being able to offer customers mobile phones is important.‘We know from our website traffic and searches that customers are actively looking for mobiles from us, but it’s important we go into this market in a John Lewis way.’At the moment there are thousands of potential combinations of mobile handsets and tariffs on the market, which can be really daunting for customers.’
Retailer Phones4U suddenly collapsed last September five days before the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, leaving thousands of customers who had pre-ordered, stranded and without any hope of a refund. The move left Carphone Warehouse as the only independent high street retailer able to offer contracts from multiple networks and while John Lewis will only offer plans from Vodafone UK, it will offer some competition for Carphone Warehouse.
Would you buy from John Lewis to get two years’ warranty and free insurance? How important are warranty and damage protection plans to you? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!
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