Vodafone has announced that it would close down about 15 percent of its 7,700 stores in Europe as well as upgrade some of the remaining ones in order to adapt to the increase in online shopping and the customers’ changed expectations of physical stores, according to CEO Nick Read, cited by Reuters.
The company will use data to gain insight into what customers want to find in each location, planning to upgrade 40 percent of its stores by end-2021. Vodafone aims to improve its services ahead of rivals like BT, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, with targeted and personalised marketing as well as new technology such as AI-powered chatbots.
“(That) means that we will have more ‘experience’ stores, less standard format stores (and) more convenience, and kiosk and click-to-collect stores,” the CEO said.
Read said that he expects Germany to be the company’s main growth engine, thanks to the acquisition of Unitymedia, the largest cable network in Vodafone’s takeover of Liberty Global.
At the same time, Vodafone is aiming to cut costs by EUR 1.34 billion by 2021.
In Romania, Vodafone is the second-largest player on the telecom market, with 9 million customers.