Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009 - (Page 37)

P H OTO C O U R T E SY O F W I R E L E S S WAV E Revved for success With its first standalone store in Vancouver’s South Granville district, WirelessWave is, well, making waves. B Y B A R B A R A K . A D A M S K I ith more than 100 locations in four provinces, WirelessWave and its signature front half of a bright blue Cobra sports car are familiar sights to many Canadian shoppers. Until recently, though, the multi-carrier mobile phone retailer made its home exclusively in shopping malls. That changed in the fall of 2008, when WirelessWave, a banner of Burnaby, B.C.-based Glentel Inc., opened its first standalone retail outlet in Vancouver’s South Granville district. The decision to move out on the street allows WirelessWave to move its brand into a strategic market segment that was missed by being located just in malls, says Cary Skidmore, WirelessWave’s vicepresident of marketing: “We recognize there are many consumers who prefer to shop in more boutique or fashion districts than visit a mall, and Granville Street is a great location to accomplish this goal.” The location, he adds, is also a great advertising platform for outdoor branding, providing excellent exposure and an advertising billboard in a high-traffic location while offering a unique store experience at the same time. Inside, the store is designed to be customer-centric. Unlike some cell phone retailers that keep their products behind lock W and key,WirelessWave displays its products out in the open. Everything is meant to be handled; even the hugely popular iPhone stands on its own pedestal and is meant to be touched. And while many of the other mobile devices on display are prototypes, they still give customers the opportunity to touch them, hold them, and judge their weight and feel — a hands-on experience that allows customers to take ownership of the product, says Skidmore. Products are grouped by the five carriers that WirelessWave handles; two displays situated along the store’s main wall include touchscreens that add to the customer’s interactive experience. For the other carriers, the store’s open-concept display stands ensure that customers can easily see the staff (and vice versa), even as they handle the products. This helps staff spot customers who might need assistance and recognize those customers who are enjoying interacting with the display and products on their own, without the intervention of sales staff. The store also features several flatscreen monitors, each one acting as a “silent salesperson” by emphasizing the WirelessWave brand and providing even more of the digital experience that modern consumers have come to expect. But for all the technical and design innovations, a WirelessWave store just wouldn’t be the same without the Cobra itself, an important design element that traces its history back to the company’s beginnings in 1997, when the “information highway” was a popular catchphrase and many cars were equipped with portable phones.The half-vehicle fits perfectly in the standalone store environment, facing out towards the busy intersection of Granville and West 11th Ave. It sits on a black tile “road,” with the steering wheel just the right height to encourage younger customers to take it for a test drive. The brilliant blue of the vehicle comes into play again behind the front counter, where a backlit sheet of Plexiglas brightens the display of the store’s higher-priced Bluetooth products. Above the counter is an oval-shaped cloud, a shape that recurs in the standalone display cases and plays off the semi-circular “waves” that radiate from the W in the corporate logo. The end result is a store with a sleek, uncluttered feel, emphasized by the floor-to-ceiling windows of the front and side walls make WirelessWave one with its surroundings. As store manager Matt Dramowicz says,“It feels like you’re part of the neighbourhood.” | M AY/J U N E 2 0 0 9 | C A N A D I A N R E TA I L E R | 3 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Come Together
Where Green Never Goes Out of Style
Practising What They Preach
When Times are Tough
How the West was Wowed
In Pursuit of a Well-Dressed West
Sporting a Bold New Look
Bigger and Better
Back to the Future
Revved for Success
The Questions Retailers Ask
Signs of the Times
Advertisers' Index
You Asked Us

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009