Perfect signal

Channel Middle East called up some of the region's key players to ask what path resellers and retailers need to take for maximum margin.

  • E-Mail
By  Dawinderpal Sahota Published  November 9, 2007

ML: In general, the answer is yes, absolutely. We understand the significance of mobile devices that are bought by businesses for the employees, especially now that more people are going beyond voice calls and SMS into mobile office applications and other business solutions. We need to match those requirements with complementary channels as well, and we know that our E-series devices and enterprise solutions like mobile e-mail and device management must be offered by b-2-b resellers. The reason is that many of these resellers offer mobile devices and they already have a sea of requirements and purchasing practices that they want to follow. Retail channels cannot always match those requirements and so we need resellers to reach and serve those customer groups.

VV: There is a huge untapped enterprise mobility business addressed through b-2-b resellers, since there is an increasing demand by workforces on the ground to mobilise business applications and processes to take advantage of the perpetually connected nature of mobile services. Analysts predict double-digit growth in mobile enterprise solutions and b-2-b resellers will be able to reach these segments by investing in educating customers, communicating more transparently, and aligning the relevancy in delivering IT and business outcomes through enterprise mobility solutions.

JC: Wherever you insert resellers into the chain, it is important to make sure they add value. Our experience is that we are enjoying success in the enterprise space due to our resellers understanding our customers and being able to penetrate the market much more quickly and effectively. They also help to bring a full service solution to the customer.

What advice would you give retailers to effectively sell handsets?

VN: They need to make sure their sales staff are well trained. In the current market - where a plethora of handsets are available at different price segments - it can sometimes be confusing for the average consumer to make a clear decision. The knowledge that a retail salesman possesses and the advice he can offer in helping to choose a handset will be something the consumer will remember and it will bring them back in future.

HB: First and foremost, understand the challenges in the market so you can fine-tune your operations and approach to cater to these requirements. Another point is to understand that the days of selling a phone on the basis that it has three megapixels over two megapixels is fast disappearing. The channel needs to understand the benefits of the device to cater to the very well-informed and picky consumers who walk into their retail stores rather than selling a device because it has a bigger camera or a slimmer form factor.

ML: We want to do everything to help the channel help us get a bigger market share. I think one piece of advice that is equally applicable to retailers and b-2-b resellers is to know your customers. Different customer segments have very different needs and the channel needs to be sensitive to those. When we compare the needs, shopping behaviour and purchase criteria of an affluent early technology adapter with that of somebody who is buying their first mobile phone, they are miles apart. Trying to be everything for everybody as a retailer will not work anymore - retailers need to know which customer segments to focus on.

What trends do you expect to see in the next 12 months in this arena and how do you expect these to impact the reseller?

ML: Convergence will continue so devices packed with cutting-edge technologies such as high quality integrated cameras, MP3 players and GPs will continue to be popular. The second trend is consumers becoming more conscious of where they want to buy the product and how they want to buy. We expect to see some big changes in the store space; stores with high-end devices offering a value added experience or those with a low-cost advantage will definitely emerge.

HB: The trend is the emergence of non-traditional channels and these will continue and become more prominent. We've been seeing IT companies selling mobile devices and hypermarkets becoming destinations for mobile handsets. Carrefour UAE's share in the mobile device market is as high as some of the dedicated mobile device retailers. Motorola is also experimenting in moving away from retail outlets and using vending machines.

JC: The converged device will become the leading technology in Windows Mobile and we've seen a huge number of people moving into the Windows Mobile space at an entry level. At the higher end, the laptop replacement scenario is becoming a very real option. Microsoft expects to ship twice as many devices in 2007 as it did in 2006 so the growth is phenomenal.

4246 days ago

Many thanks for such a great source of useful information. It's a great website.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code