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EE, Oxford

Finally, we had the pleasure of discovering yet another innovative new retail outlet. Situated on the lower mall at Westgate, this leading technology brand has created a smart, professional, yet homely vibe for its new store with the aim of attracting the entire household communications market. As is so popular nowadays most providers offer the complete telephone, broadband, TV and mobile package and so it is only fitting that their shops should also embody this all encompassing outlook.

The new EE store in Oxford does just this. Broken up into three distinct areas, the overall interior is a subtle grey, however splashes of vibrant green, the brand’s colour, are used throughout and in abundance at the back, to entice you right through the shop. The illuminated, brand led, rear wall display screens light up the entire interior of this dynamic, multi layered design.

Starting at the front, a high ceiling together with an awe inspiring digital feature captivate passersby and draw them inside. Used to launch the latest merchandise, a single plinth displays a sole product and is surrounded by an enormous bank of curved screens. Composed of eight separate panels the gargantuan display shows video imagery and allows you to fully interact with the brand. The circular area created on the floor is mirrored above with a bright blue ring of light that lends a space age feel - you almost expect someone to teleport to another dimension. It’s utterly fantastic.

At the centre of the store, the help HUB complete with animated icons has a black backdrop that highlights the multiple screens which encourage exploration of the retail offer. This section has a lowered ceiling creating an intimate atmosphere where seating and tables encourage further research. A bar style counter complete with stools, powder coated in the bright brand colour, is positioned away from the walls encouraging people to walk around and lean in for a chat. It offers an informal means of communication. Smaller, round, cafe style tables and chairs are situated to the left and allow for private discussions, their equally informal nature reinforces this relaxed environment. Finally, on the left perimeter wall comfy, stylish booths face large screens permitting customers to try out the full range of services in a semi home-style setting. A central, pendant lamp hangs from the ceiling in each booth.

Although, traditionally, product would be located throughout the store starting at the front, EE showcases its products at the back. Each manufacturer has its own dedicated and illuminated wall display graphics where phones and tablets are arranged sparsely below on narrow, side table type, display units. A liberal number of smart, freestanding, coordinating display tables grace the rear section and showcase peripheral items such as watches, cases and chargers. Another difference in this innovative interior is the lack of an official sales desk – EE’s instore mobile POS system encourages staff and customers to transact freely anywhere within the space. As is expected from this tech savvy business, digital screens also play an extremely important role and are used throughout the store to inform and aid navigation.

No doubt Apple has led the way with its spacious and quite simply elegant experience stores. EE strikes a well measured balance of beauty and function with its new concept. Designed by Quinine to help extend EE’s reach beyond mobile only, without becoming too hard and technological, the new store brings an immersive customer experience that is also very attractive.



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