Media Technology elevates Brand Experience
Enthusiastic customers, increasing sales – Vodafone is satisfied with their new flagship store concept. Media technique planned by macom forms the center of the first new flagship store in Cologne’s Schildergasse – it covers, among other things, three display walls with a total of over 60 square meters of projection walls extending over two storeys. The interactive media concept with many technical refinements supports a new interactive brand experience. Vodafone praises, among other things, the user friendliness.

Vodafone Germany has plans for the retail trade: The Dusseldorf headquarters are in the planning stages for a new quality dimension in the telecommunication business which involves a new flagship store concept. These plans are based on the recognition that the point-of-sales density in the city centers is partly too overloaded and fragmented and that the differences in the various suppliers’ offerings at the points of sales are marginal. Vodafone is now taking a new direction in Cologne’s Schildergasse. Two small Vodafone shops were closed, a former pharmacy was converted into a new flagship store. Top sales staff from all over Germany, service staff, personal shopping assistants, jeans and polo shirts instead of suits – Vodafone is promising a whole new customer experience with
high service standards.

The project manager Dr. Kai-Uwe Laag, Head of Sales Strategies and Property Management at Vodafone, explains the strategy: „We want to create an intensive brand experience – involving innovation and emotions – in a playful manner.“ In the „Customer Experience Lab“, the official name of the shop, the biggest European supplier of telecommunication experiments with ideas „which we have never tried out anywhere before“, says Kai-Uwe Laag. Vodafone forecasts the potential of 10 to 12 further flagship stores following the Cologne model in top locations in Germany’s city centers. The communicative approach of the new concept involves interactive technology to promote customer contact. The search for a translator for this ambitious project led Vodafone to macom. macom is
planning the media technique project in the new Vodafone campus in Dusseldorf. So Vodafone asked macom to plan the media concept for the store in Cologne’s Schildergasse.

„ Media technique is a central component of our new flagship store concept. It supports the brand experience Vodafone in an ideal manner.“ Dr. Kai-Uwe Laag, Head of Sales Strategies and Property Management Vodafone D2 GmbH

Video Columns with an Area of 32 Square Meters
The most striking component of the multimedia solution designed by macom in Cologne: video columns which dominate the entire interior. A central video wall composed of 42 screen elements and an area of 32 square meters extends itself impressively over two storeys of the 250 square meter shop. „Probably the biggest display in the German retail market“, says Pascal Nguyen from Vodafone’s Customer Retail Division. A second video column with 14 displays each, mounted back-to-back, also reaches to the upper floor, and a small 6-screen video column complements the ensemble.

State-of-the-Art Media Technology
macom has planned state-of-the-art media technology for Vodafone in Cologne. All three light walls can be selected together or separately and can play any type of content. Fixed HD cameras throughout the store allow live transmissions on all video walls. The loudspeakers of the sound system are invisible, an additional mobile loudspeaker system can amplify the sound to disco volume for events or the like.

Intelligent Control Concepts
Optical fibers provide an undisturbed transmission of digital video signals. Furthermore, macom has developed an intelligent control concept for the entire media technique system. The control of video content, audio and cameras is integrated in a front-end of an iPad. It is installed in the wall near the cashier and serves as a central touch control panel – even for third-party systems like the lighting system. „It does not only look perfect, but can also be operated easily. This distinguishes the system, because our staff can manage it very easily“, says Kai-Uwe Laag. „It provides optimum user friendliness and thus ensures the efficient operation of the system.“ Third-party systems can easily be connected to the fixed media technique system in Cologne’s Schildergasse. Kinect cameras detect the movements of visitors and project them onto the wall as outlines. A game in which the visitors found themselves, recorded by the Kinect cameras, as an action figure in a virtual surrounding, was so popular that – although it had been planned to run for only 4 weeks after the grand opening, was extended to 8 weeks. „So far we have used only a fraction of the system’s technical potential“, judges Pascal Nguyen with regards to the capability of the new technique. Manifold digital performances are possible with the macom AudioVisual solution, live broadcasts, product presentations, trainings. „We have many more ideas which we can realize and thus increase the positive experience of shopping at Vodafone.“

Successful Communications Solutions
The Dusseldorf headquarters of Vodafone are very happy with the solution as such, but also with the realization of the project. „Spectacular and highly professional to the finest detail“ is the judgement of Kai-Uwe Laag about the work of macom. The project in Cologne’s Schildergasse caused some headaches, but they sat with the Stuttgart-based AV engineering company only twice. Afterwards they could rely on them. „We could place the order and then forget about it“, Pascal Nguyen boils it down. Vodafone appreciates „this reliability“ even more because they know what is behind the display project: macom also had to coordinate and supervise the many trades which were involved in the project, from the customer who supplies the content to the realization of the metal construction for the displays and the provision of equipment for the technical room on the second floor. And all this within only eight weeks from the beginning of the planning to the start-up of the system.

„The results are absolutely positive“
From the laboratory to practical experience: The Customer Experience Lab in Cologne is now outgrowing the experimental status. Vodafone is elaborately putting the concept to the proof. „The results are absolutely positive“ says Laag, Head of Retail Development, the customer surveys are promising, sales are satisfactory. The Vodafone doers also received praise from within. All Vodafone subsidiaries have elected the concept from the cathedral city as a global Best Practice within the retail community of the group.

Vodafone D2 GmbH

Konzept: Boris Storz
Projektleiter: Mario Margonari
Mitarbeiter: Patrick Beckmann, David Moor

Architekt: Schubert Architekten
Generalunternehmer: Planungs- und Baubetreuungsgesellschaft mbH