O2 to save the British High Street ... with money-off vouchers
Freebies for free, if you're a SME
O2 is opening its free voucher scheme to every small retailer in the UK, even those which aren't O2 customers, as long as they're not franchised from a megacorp and have a high-street presence.
The free scheme, which allows retailers to offer money-off vouchers to O2 customers, was launched in July, but was only available to retailers with an O2 connection. Since then we're assured that more than 4,000 have taken up the offer, and that O2's promotional engine is kicking into gear to offer same deal to any retailer – which will be able to start giving away free stuff in as little as three minutes.
That's two minutes shaved off the registration process, which took all of five at launch, but other than that the rules remains the same: coupon downloads capped at 500; retailers must have a physical presence where coupons can be redeemed, and can't be part of a chain; and coupons only available to O2 customers, of course.
The rejection of chain stores is intended to keep out the big companies which might be convinced to pay for having their brands promoted within O2 Priority Moments, but O2 is also painting it as being good for the British High Street, which we're always being told needs saving.
With that in mind, O2 is aligning itself with "Portas Project" towns - places selected by veteran TV shopper Mary Portas, who has been reviewing British high streets to decide how best to compete with the supermarkets who've been hoovering up the retail sector for the last few decades. With that in mind, O2 will target Manchester later this month with visits to shops and loads of advertising explaining how the Spanish-owned brand is the last, best, hope for UK high streets.
Vouchers are really in fashion at the moment, but it's hard to imagine them dragging people back to the city centres. A voucher might draw one from a Starbucks to a Pret when in a city sporting both, but it would have to be a pretty remarkable offer to change one's shopping habits. But perhaps we're being too cynical, and when combined with the Portas money, vouchers might just tip people over into using their local retailers again, reigniting the high street as the centre of community life for one and all. ®
Yawn...another ill-fated attempt by a telco to be anything to consumers but a data pipe and a phone leasing solution. Honestly, there are three things that punters care about, 1) having a decent signal and data connection on the network they choose 2) being able to get an expensive phone on loan with a 'reasonable' cost and suitable airtime/data (although getting a phone this way is marginally more expensive and locks you in for ages but people seem happy enought to sign away) 3) good customer service when things go tits up. That's it.
Consumers couldn't give a shit about anything else the telcos do, they are simply another utility, and the quicker these companies realise that this is heir fate since they bottled it and screwed up the first time round, with high data rates and near useless services (remember the awful walled gardens with shit news, crappy java games and ringtones, after the promise of 'full internet access'?), the quicker they can stop spending money on this crap. Then we might see some quality investments in the networks and cheaper contracts.
Re: You may have a point, except...
indeed. People also forget that you can buy a phone upfront and look at a 0% credit card transfer for that amount (with charge) and pay that off over whatever time you had your contract. Then you get to pick and choose your SIM only when new deals come out.
You may have a point, except...
with the exception of three virtually all the mobile companies offer the exact same service at the same price bands. Just look at the iPhone, there is virtually no price discrimination across o2, vodafone and orange. most other phones are largely the same.
Network access is also starting to become less of an issue with the merging of networks like orange and T-mobile and im sure this wont be last merger
and why the hell would I want to 'loan' a phone when I can get one free with a subsidising contract or I can buy the phone upfront and get a cheap contract anyway! Giff and three both offer excellent sim-only deals, the other providers....not so much. At least then I actually own the phone and its not like you cant sell them or pass them to youngsters/elders when your done. I really dont see how loaning a phone is honestly going to change pricing structure by anything worth while