My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: LIME rolls out Redesigned Main Store at Carlton Crescent in a 2 Year Battle against Digicel - Digicel still dangerous with cheaper Data, the DL600 smartphone and Postpaid Digihome

Friday, December 6, 2013

LIME rolls out Redesigned Main Store at Carlton Crescent in a 2 Year Battle against Digicel - Digicel still dangerous with cheaper Data, the DL600 smartphone and Postpaid Digihome

“Everything was under glass. Customers had to depend on an agent to find out information about a phone; they wanted to be much more comfortable in the (retail) environment, they wanted to do it themselves, without having a big stick over them, and they also wanted a wider array of accessories”

LIME Head of Retail Stephen Price speaking to The Jamaica Observer on Monday December 2nd 2013 on a tour of the redesigned Store

Telecom Provider LIME certainly isn’t letting the ball drop, having now redesigned their Main Store at their Headquarters at Carlton Crescent to mimic Telecom Provider Digicel’s as noted in “LIME Launches Prototype Lifestyle Store”, Published Friday November 29, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner and “LIME's $50-m upgrade of Carlton store kick-starts 2-year renovation project”, published Wednesday, November 27, 2013 by JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

The redesign was done on contract to the tune of US$50 million by Ohio, USA-based strategic brand and design firm Chute Gerdeman, who were also designed for other LIME Stores as well as stores for an amazing array of clients including:

1.      Swiss Farms
2.      Domino's
3.      Verizon Wireless
4.      Mars/M&M's

But Telecom Provider LIME isn’t stopping there. Oh no, this is a two (2) year push to upgrade all of their flagship stores, eleven (11) in total. King Street, Downtown Kingston is first up, straight in Digicel's Backyard, just in time for the Shopping rush closer to Christmas! Then the others are set to get the same treatment:

1.      Fairview in Montego Bay
2.      Sovereign in Kingston
3.      Bargain Mall in Half Way Tree

Albeit the store design was American, the suppliers of the interiors pieces were all local as per the list below:

1.      Video Boards by Iprint Digital
2.      Screens by Main Event Entertainment 
3.      Graphic work by Innovative Signs & Awnings 
4.      Accessories by Smart Mobile Solutions 
5.      Smartphone and Feature phones by Facey

However, my impressions of the redesign are not in keeping with the sentiments expressed by LIME Head of Retail Stephen Price. I think they could have done a lot better for JA$$50 million on one Store!

Lindsworth Deer visits LIME’s New Store – Mr. Monk likes it but Ceiling and Website suck

Here are a few snaps to show off their redesign, which I visited personally myself and chatted up with the Customer Service Agents on Tuesday December 3rd 2013. My impressions are quite to the point as I wasn’t really very impressed. Redesigned to the tune of JA Telecom Provider LIME has expanded on the 2,500 square feet and it's now a much roomier 3,500 square feet. Looking form outside, it look like a gigantic palatial Great House with a Digital Display and a black and white LIME sign that lights up at night with one letter not coming on.

Once inside (in the daytime when I visited!), the display space covered with interactive Capacitive Touch Screen displays and strategically places feature and smartphone displays. Smartphones and other products are placed strategically all over the floor space and the Customer Service sections are at either end of the Store, reducing congestion and making the store appear roomy and less cluttered.

No so fond of the ceiling though. Looks like they left it that way, with the wiring, Conduit and Air Conditioning ducts painted black! Also left untouched is their Website Time4Lime, which still sports the same uninviting, unstructured and unfriendly display that’s trying to supply all info for all of LIME’s territories in one website when they should have separate Websites for each territory that they serve. Perhaps that and the ceilings are next on their design list…hopefully!

But why a redesign now in the Middle of Christmas? Shouldn’t all this have been done earlier in 2013? The answer has partially to do with their three (3) year plan to beat Telecom Provider Digicel.

LIME’s on a Roll with Store Rollout – Business Services, Competitive Mobile Data and AWS

After rolling out New 30 Day Data Plans for smartphones that cost only JA$300 and a promotion involving a free Alcatel One Touch T’Pop (OT-4010) as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME Jamaica introduces 30-day Data Plans for JA$300 and a free Alcatel One Touch T'Pop - How the Butler started the Smartphone Data Revolution” , Telecom Provider LIME has apparently stepped up the ante this Christmas.

But apparently Telecom Provider LIME was worried about the possible expenditure for the 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) should they acquire it, a bid process which later fizzled as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's 700MHz Spectrum Auction fails to attract bidders on Friday October 11 2013 - Jamaicans Lack interest in Broadband Internet and no Telecom Regulator for the Sector”.

There is a Spectrum Auction for AWS and WiMaX from the SMA (spectrum Management Authority) coming up in a few Weeks which is initially being kicked off by a request from the Telecom Providers both incumbent and New entrants to show interest as stated in my blog article entitled “GOJ and MSTEM auctioning WiMaX and AWS Spectrum by Monday December 5th 2013 - AWS for Point-to-point, Point-to-Multipoint Networks and Residential WiMaX for Economic Prosperity”.

Telecom Provider LIME may therefore be saving up their limited pennies for a big spend on an expansion of their Network to handle any potential success with acquiring spectrum for these purposes.

This as can be drawn from the comments by LIME Head of Retail Stephen Price on the “difficulties” encountered in getting LIME’s Head Honcho’s to be a little more giving and spend on upgrading their stores, quote: “We are in the process of the final stages of a CAPEX (capital expenditure) document [then we are going to our board for the necessary approvals. It will seek to firstly address our LIME-owned stores, then our entire network”.

LIME needs to Beware – Digicel now has cheaper Data and Postpaid with LNP/MNP by May 2014

So clearly Telecom Provider LIME’s Strapped for Cash but spending on the Future. Still, I hope they realize that the Low cost model aura will eventually wear off. After all, albeit their Data, Landline and now ADSL Bundles are cost competitive as noted in my blog article entitled “LIME rolls out new Business themed ADSL and Local and International Landline Calling Bundles - DigiHome offense could Herald the coming of LIME FTTH and relaunch of LIME TV” but not for long!

Come May 2014, all Telecom Provider Digicel has to do is await MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) and spring DigiHome as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel rolls out DigiHome, their first Residential Postpaid Fixed Line Service - Ramp up for Landline Number Portability and LIME’s Homefone XPress”. At that point, a flood of persons wanting to free themselves of LIME’s archaic Landlines will dent their efforts at price war marketing.

Telecom Provider LIME should be spending more on rolling out new innovative new products like LIME FTTH and LIME TV and Marketing their existing products rather than just depending on Lower prices to hold the market. Simply doing cosmetic facelifts of their stores is not enough as already the effect of lower pricing is beginning to fade.

Digicel is showing that it can compete in Data, especially as they now have the hot new smartphone, the DL600 and new postpaid plans and Postpaid DigiHome that are finally competitive to Telecom Provider LIME’s in terms of pricing as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel officially launches DL600 smartphones on Friday October 18th 2013 and JA$100 2-Day Data Plans - Ours is the Fury as Digicel’s DL600 secures their Throne in this Game of Phones against LIME”.

Stay tuned for more as this story develops in the Geezam blog!

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