Research Notes

New report: Retailers of mobile phones are not ready to sell new advanced mobilefones

New Report show that UK retailers of mobile phones are not ready to sell new
advanced terminals
Until recently, the mobile phone was used exclusively for talking. Today, its functionality is ever increasing. We send SMS messages and an increasing number of customers use the phone to access the mobile Internet, information and email.

There is also much talk about UMTS and 3. generation mobile phones. One important question is, if UK retailers are ready when the customers are. Are they ready and able to provide the service and expertise necessary to sell these new and advanced products?

We wanted to provide an answer to this important question, so we conducted an analysis of what it is like to be a customer wishing to buy one of these new products. Our new report: The Moment of Truth ˆ a portrait of the UK market for Smart Handheld Devices describes in detail the entire sales process as experienced in 56 different retail outlets, from the moment we enter to the shop till we leave again with a solution ˆ from contact to contract.

The result was disturbing. Much too often our customer met retailers and sales persons who showed little or not interest in his situation, and much too often the staff knew too little about the products they were selling. In fact:

·The average sales process lasted 8.2 minutes
·Neither of the distribution channels achieves ratings above average, when it comes to their ability to uncover the customers profile.
·Not one sales assistant asked about the customers budget.
·Shops achieve an average score of 1.54 when it comes to their presentation of the products (rated from 1-5)
·The sales assistant‚s knowledge of SHD‚s was on average rated at 2.71. (rated from 1-5)
·Only 8 of the sales assistants exposed the customer to Smart Phones
·Only 16 sales assistants demonstrated a solution
·Far more arguments against than for Smart Phones
·Design, size/weight and price are respectively the 4th, 5th and 6th most commonly used arguments for a PDA solution
·The sales assistant in one shop began by recommending a Nokia 8210, before realising it is not a WAP telephone
·Sales persons‚ personal choice and preferences are more often than not what determines a recommendation to the customer

Many of the sales persons argued poorly for a given solution, and most did not even know how to access email via the mobile phone. This despite the fact that most terminals now supports this function, either in the form of WAP or other solutions.

WAP is not in trouble because of too few customers. The real problem stems from operators and terminal producers having ignored the task of training retailers and sales persons in selling these new products.

We think it will probably leave you with the question: Who is responsible? Retailers, mobile operators or terminal producers? We suggest the answer is: Yes to all three. Each of them is guilty of focusing too much on UMTS/3G and too little on helping
customers chose and use those products who shall pave the way for those UMTS/3G telephones which will reach the market next year.

More information on the report

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