Survey: Mobile Carriers Drop The Retail Ball

Waiting in Line Despite consumers' continued use of the Internet for research on new mobile products, they are still heading to the stores to purchase new phones. Yet the carriers themselves may be dropping the ball when it comes to completing the purchase.

According to a survey commissioned by Amdocs, a telecom software and retail solutions provider, more than 60% of consumers who had visited a provider's retail store did so with the intent of purchasing a handset or upgrading their existing device. However, nearly a quarter of them left the store without making a purchase.

"For consumers and service providers, the world is getting more complex. And as a result, the retail store is experiencing a resurgence," Scott Kolman, director of product marketing at Amdocs, tells Marketing Daily.

According to the survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, consumers visit the stores for three main reasons: to obtain a device right away, to touch the device before purchase and to make sure they understand -- via the service staff -- a device's features and service plans.



While the service providers are doing a good job of getting the word out about new devices and features, they are tripping up when it comes to getting the right information in the customer's hands within the stores, Kolman says.

According to the survey, one of every four people who intend to buy a phone in a retail store did not primarily for two reasons: the service staff was not knowledgeable enough about the devices or service plans or the wait to speak with someone was too long. The average store wait was 25-38 minutes, Kolman says, with smartphone purchases lasting on average 15 minutes longer than feature phone transactions.

"The service providers are doing a great job in promoting the value of smartphones and tapping into that interest and need by consumers," Kolman says. "But are they maximizing the revenue out of that transaction to make sure customers are getting the best plan?"

After visiting the store, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said the experience met their expectations. Kolman cautioned, however, that the number may be deceiving based on what consumers might expect. Less than 20% of those surveyed said the experience exceeded their expectations.

"If you think about it, most people don't relish the idea of buying a new phone," Kolman says. "If their [low] expectations are only met, that's not necessarily a good thing."

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