Loblaw aims to make “The Mobile Shop” Canada’s largest 3rd party mobile phone retailer by 2013

Ian Hardy

November 1, 2011 8:30am


Loblaw, a major supermarket here in Canada, has been offering prepaid mobile service under their PC Mobile brand for years, and also from 8 other carriers with “The Mobile Shop” self-serve kiosk (Rogers, Bell, TELUS, Virgin, Fido, Koodo, Wind and Public Mobile). Today, the company has officially rolled out a new full-service store-within-a-store experience that gives people another way to purchase a postpaid mobile device, internet stick or tablet – in total they have over 50 different devices. There are currently 100 locations live today, but the plan is to have a total of 200 across Canada by the end of the 2012.

During an interview yesterday Maria Forlini, Senior Vice President, PC Telecom stated that “we are serious about this and in it for the long haul”. The big goal is to become Canada’s largest third party mobile phone retailer by 2013, The Mobile Shop already employs 400 mobile representatives, planning for another 400 next year, and customers can go in and ask for advice about their device. Forlini stated that “we play an advisory role to ensure our customers’ get the right phone and the right plan in order to help them get the most out of their mobile experience – all in one easy and convenient location.”

The Mobile Shop full-service stores have devices from Rogers, Bell, TELUS, Virgin, Fido, Koodo and PC Mobile , however, if you’re looking the score a WIND or Public phone from them you’ll have to revert back to the basic Prepay kiosks.

Source: The Mobile Shop

  • KidCanada

    Haha! good luck with that..

  • Jonesy1966

    They had a kiosk in the Loblaw’s Superstore in Oakville, ON up until about 6 months ago, I guess it was there for about 8 months. Not once did I ever see a customer shopping there, just the staff heads down texting or gaming, it was quite obvious it wouldn’t last. Now it’s been replaced by a self-serve point of sale displaying nothing but the lowest of the low in terms of phones, some pretty pathetic offerings. There will be a day when I’ll shopping for a new cell phone and/or plan and the last place I’d consider visiting is a supermarket.

    • Somesimpleinfo

      The self serve kiosk with a “pathetic” offering is for those who simple want to get a prepaid phone nothing more nothing less … you can’t expect to find expensive entry level android devices for example sitting there for prepaid phones … no one would ever buy … the self serve kiosks are simple for users who need a quick simple phone with no monthly plan …

      The people there are just looking to help so if anything just say hi one day if you come across a kiosk you won’t need to buy anything just say hi … When I talked to the sales associate there he was very helpful and answered all questions and didn’t make the experience pressured for me to buy.

    • Jonesy1966

      I completely understand what the display is for, but taking into account they had a full, manned kiosk with a wide selection of phones and replaced it with a point of sale stand hidden in an obscure corner of the store with little to no selection in just a matter of a couple of days or so. That indicates to me a retailer that has no clue how to market this “new” product.

      This particular store is renowned for poor customer service and communicates to customers with a series of shrugs and grunts. I dare you to ask an employee in produce where sugar is. The staff in the electronics section couldn’t tell me the difference between a plasma and LCD television when I asked just for fun, and these are the people you want to buy a smartphone from?

      These days when I shop for groceries I shop at places that know what groceries are. Same can be said for my mobile needs too.

    • RooccoStiffReddi

      LOL hey tubby if they wanted to sell you a phone they would have to set it up in the all you can eat line! So how it feel to have lost your paytroll status.. did wind really dump you faster than your wind stock?

    • Jonesy1966

      Paytroll? Don’t make me laugh, Rocco. Once again you fail to address the discussion at hand, prefering to resort to your old and tired fall back of firing off non-sensical and childish insults. Are you really that bereft of any original ideas, Rocco, that you choose to deliberately obfuscate the issue? I was flipping through Wind’s site last night and noticed you’re being held to task again. What are you going to do now? Yet another ID? You always seem to turn tail when the heat is turned on you, Rocco. You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    • Iknowthis

      Its called a test run. Now they know what NOT to do, and how to succeed.

  • Alex Perrier

    So no WINDtab or WINDtab+?

    • Alex Perrier

      Bad news: no WINDtab/WINDtab+, although it *may* be offered in the urban cities, as the kiosk picture may be a non-urban region.

      Good news: no more postpaid activations for Solo Mobile! :D :D :D

  • Lumi

    I was called for a manager position at “The Mobile Shop” that opened in my local Loblaws, but I kindly turned down the offer to continue working as regular staff at the Fido kiosk – I did not want to risk making less commissions at a slow store.

    • Lumi

      Furthermore: How do they intend to compete with Wireless Wave?

  • J.

    The best experience is always going to the actual store themselves. These third party companies don’t have enough knoeledge about each carrier to have a good client experience. Countless times I’ve had to deal with angry customers that were fed false information from future shop or the best buy.

    • Somesimpleinfo

      and yet I can’t count the countless times I’ve seen / been the person that has been fed wrong or inaccurate information by official stores … that cause me to go back and fourth and deal with managers …

    • t

      +1

      An asian female sales from bestbuy store in Markville Mall, once told me Rogers data early cancellation fee is $200.

      NO IT’S NOT, ONLY $100

  • John Lee

    Message to Loblaws: why would people want to shop cell phones at your place instead of company stores (eg. Telus)? Do you offer better pricing? Discounts on monthly plans? (eg. 15% cheaper than anyone else? Free CID/VM for all customers?) Shorter contracts while still able to get discounted pricing on handsets? (Even a 6-month or 3-month reduction to a 3-year contract would be an incentive.) Repair service in stores? If you don’t give better pricing or experience to your potential customers, why would I want to buy at your stores vs. corporate stores?

    • anneRoq

      At the Mobile Shops they offer a wide range of smart phones starting at $0.Also with a number of the cellphones when they are accivated come with a loblaws gift card anywhere from $25 to $125. As well as offer a stay Mobile Care plan which adds an extra year of coverage as well as it is rollover gauranteed! Finally I find the staff at the mobile shops very knowledgeable ….even more so than any other 3rd party mobile retailer!

  • nauman

    I believe they will offer a cheaper price point on the handsets. It will have to be more than 10-20 dollars cheaper. The contract term will stay the same as the carriers wont allow them to really change that.

    They also need to offer extended warranty, like BestBuy and FS etc.

  • Mike

    These guys won’t be able to compete with a Best Buy Mobile or Wireless Wave. I done see it happening. The svp that was interviewed needs a reality check.

  • Lisa

    Unfortunately I purchased a phone, along with a Solo plan at their kiosk in Milton. I also took an extended warranty plan, after 3 months, I have a prolem with the instrument. When I return to Loblaws they have closed down and under another management. Beware, of them.

  • Jon

    No thanks, I go to the grocery store to get…ummm…groceries.

  • Brian

    These guys try to poach kiosk and BB Mobile/FS employees all the time, it’s pretty slimey. Even their executives were jacked from BB Mobile, as was posted on MobileSyrup a few weeks ago.

    Pretty shady imo.

  • Insider

    how will the compete with Wireless Wave? Simple. They are Wireless Wave. Glentel run Wireless Wave, T-Booth and Wireless ETC (aka costco) already, and announced months ago that they were talking to Loblaws to recreate the ETC environment inside a Loblaws store. Don’t expect Telus and Kooko to last once Glentel takes over completely,

    • David

      How is recruiting employees from other companies a shady practice? Its very common for executives to be recruited by a competitor. In addition, retailers use that strategy to recruit employees with good customer service skills. Examples of retailers that do this include: Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Williams Sonoma etc.

    • B.

      They are not Glentel kiosks as their four test stores ended in the Summer… the new ones are run by Match Marketing/Pop Up Retail, with some of the Ontario ones run by Loblaws.

      Generally you will find them in newly renovated stores featuring the Joe Fresh section. They receive base plus commission with Telus paying the most (like FS) and managers making bonus based on store targets.

      They’ve started to open in BC yesterday.

  • Netguru

    “The big goal is to become Canada’s largest third party mobile phone retailer by 2013.”

    I like shopping at Loblaws but geez, someone there has been listening to too much Everly Borthers…all I have to do is dream, dream, dream.

  • Yomamma

    Glentel ended their relationship with Loblaws 6 months ago. So they aren’t affiliated with WirelessWave, Tbooth or Wireless Etc.

    They can’t compete. They don’t have much buying power to reduce handset pricing, or offer in-store credits.

  • AndroidBunny

    The least place I would expect anyone to get a phone from is Loblaws.. good luck though! It’s interesting to see how it will hold up.

  • Somesimpleinfo

    They def are not run by Glentel as the picture shows The Mobile shop carries Telus and Koodo …

    While others feel they won’t grab a phone at a grocery store think for a moment … busy moms or dads who pop into a loblaws to grab there groceries have a question about their plan, phone etc. The Mobile Shop is there … its about convenience .. plus I got some grocery cards when I bought my phone … I bought dinner after I got my phone! It was great.

  • carebear

    I just wanted to say that I actually signed up for a new account at one of these kiosk’s in windsor, ontario and had the most amazing experience. The staff knew exactly what they were talking about when it came to phones and plans, they had what I wanted in stock and were incredible with helping me set up everything on my new smart phone. I got a great price on my phone and even a bonus gift card with it. I would recommend them to anyone

  • VoiceOfReason

    The Mobile Shops in my area have just only recently opened, and already I have been there to purchase a new phone, as well as to upgrade my mother’s phone.
    On both visits the booth had multiple visitors, however when I was served the employees made sure that all of my questions were answered, took their time with me and were more knowledgeable than the people I had dealt with at the corporate locations.
    I like this shop because it’s conveniently located, because the staff are friendly, and because they are not committed to just ONE service provider. They can recommend what best suits your needs based on multiple offerings.
    I will continue to frequent the Mobile Shop for all of my cellular needs.

  • RooccoStiffReddi

    No WIND? why is that? Seems like wind missed out yet again!

  • OldBBGuy

    Walmart has had their kiosks for five years and are nowhere near being the “the leading third party provider in Canada,” although that was their stated goal at the time.
    The phones are cheaper at Walmart than the company stores, with the same plans, and usually offer gift cards. They still aren’t as big as the Glentel stores. What could Loblaws hope to offer to compete??

  • Iknowthis

    Actually, the staff at these kiosks are more knowledgable then the majority or Wireless carries anywhere I’ve been so far. One told me they undergo pretty intense training before they’re up and running. Hands down 5 star customer service. They will reach their goal at the pace they are going.

  • CMG

    To anyone that reads this we do have tons of knowledge about wireless carriers and such. It may not be the perfect place for kiosk. However, its nice to have something where you can go and talk to someone about cell phone instead of travelling everywhere plus you have a choice on different carriers right in front of you. Our customer service is great as well. Yes there are and always will be people that complain about everything in the mobile world but that is nothing we can do about. I do work with the company and enjoy it very much. At least here we know what we are talking about and can provid you with service, rather than Walmart which has no knowledge of the products. We also do the PC gift cards in which you can buy your groceries with them if you think.
    So complain, bash the company just know no matter where you go you are going under one of our carriers anyways.

  • m

    The kiosk looks great. Too Bad it will only attract loblaws shoppers not a large market segment.