Cellular South goes interactive

Cellular South is overhauling its Ridgeland, MS, bricks-and-mortar store with an emphasis on digital. This is the latest move by the wireless and data services provider to demon­strate how important this channel has become to its business strategy.

The new store is designed to mirror the layout of the Web site. There will be a total of 26 computer terminals and 23 store associates trained to guide cus­tomers through the process of using the Cellular South Web site.

Cellular South “is trying to set the terms for its long-term growth” by pro­viding customers “the ultimate online experience,” said Jim Richmond, direc­tor of corporate communications at Cellular South.

It has also recently named Huge Inc. as its interactive agency and re­launched its Web site with new features. This week it opens a new store, calledCellularSouth.com, with a heavily Web-based retail format that could become the basis for all of its future stores.

“The company has always focused on ways to offer self-service because cus­tomers that have the ability to do this tend to be happier,” Richmond added.

Cellular South competes against sev­eral of the big telecommunications pro­viders in the Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida markets.

In order to stay competitive, Cellular South wants to make it easier for con­sumers to pick the right cell phone and calling plan by offering products and services bundled together in lifestyle packages for the first time, which are available on the new Web site.

In addition, customers can now per­form many of the same functions that they can on the Web site through a wireless device or from a terminal in the CellularSouth.com store.

“Cellular South wants customers to have a seamless experience through any venue that they want to interact with the brand,” said Kathy Watson, man­ager of strategic Web operations at the company.

Martin-Williams, which previously oversaw all of Cellular South’s online and offline advertising, will continue to oversee the offline portion of the busi­ness, the company said.

Aaron Shapiro, partner at Huge, said his agency will leverage the Web on Cellular South’s behalf through search engine marketing, search engine optimi­zation, social networking, display adver­tising and CRM.

Interactive agency Huge will also be working with Martin-Williams to ensure “the whole ecosystem works together,” Shapiro said.

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