Research discovered that 68 percent of Canadians owned a smartphone in 2015, up from 55 percent in 2014. That number doesn’t reflect how many people own “traditional” cell phones, thus implying that most Canadians are using, and thriving with, wireless technology. Generally, smartphone owners replace their devices every two years when the contract is up, regardless if the phone is still working or not. In this boom time for the market, wireless retail stores theoretically should be raking in unprecedented profits.
Unfortunately, the reality for many wireless retailers points to different results. Stores may struggle to attract and keep customers, get those customers to spend more per visit, and increase profits. Boosting revenue for these businesses shouldn’t require an overhaul of operations or philosophy, but rather, simple steps that result in happier customers with open wallets. Here are five top ways to make your wireless retail store more profitable:
1. Exceptional customer service
This is a no-brainer, especially for independent wireless stores, which, in theory, should offer a more personalized experience than corporate-owned stores where customers are directed to take a number and wait their turn to be helped. However, speed of service doesn’t always translate to efficiency, not to mention the deep knowledge customers are seeking. A crowded store may indicate competence … or may indicate your store is slow, thus sending visitors somewhere else to buy their phones. Hire employees who realize the importance of efficiency, recognize the importance of hard work, and greet every customer with a smile. Little touches of exceptional customer service can go a long way in turning first-time visitors into repeat customers who gush to their friends and family about your wireless store.
2. A well-trained sales team
Continuing on the previous tip, training your sales team to be excellent can boost profits in the long run. Nothing is more disconcerting to a customer than asking about a phone feature but not getting an answer from anyone in the store. Furthermore, if customers are returning their purchases out of dissatisfaction that could have been avoided with better employee training, productivity is reduced not only in the time wasted in the initial sale, but also in the expense of completing the return. Quality training leads to satisfied customers and, subsequently, increased profits.
3. Offer warranty programs to protect the customer
Warranty programs offer confidence to customers that if something should go wrong with their phones, they will be covered (and, as you know, there are plenty of smartphone users who so beat up their devices that they never make it to renewal). Perhaps more importantly, warranties offer an additional revenue stream for wireless stores that they might not have otherwise considered. The key is to offer plans that are tailored to your pricing requirements while giving customers peace of mind—and then proficiently selling those plans. Your training strategy should also include teaching sales employees how to properly qualify customers, understand their needs, and present a warranty solution that is relevant to them. You will see increased attachment rates and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
4. Utilize reporting
Profits may be steady for your wireless store, but do you truly know what’s causing those results? Effective reporting, from the number of shoppers who enter your store compared to how many make purchases, to how many customers are buying warranties and how much they are spending on plans, can drive strategies to increase revenues. You can see what is working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly, thus maximizing each sale and, hopefully, boosting otherwise flat profits.
5. Stock your store correctly
Ideally, the phone will not be the only purchase you want your customers to make. Accessories, data plan options, and warranties are profitable upsells that can be offered with minimal effort on your part. Yet, many wireless retail stores aren’t stocking their stores correctly and are missing out on this golden opportunity, not to mention experiencing reduced profits in merchandise that isn’t selling. Reporting can help identify what phones and accessories are most in demand in your stores, thus giving you a glimpse on what you should and should not be stocking. Accessories, such as cases and headsets, should match the devices you are featuring—there’s no use carrying replacement batteries that don’t fit your phones. Finally, the warranties you sell should meet the needs of your shoppers; a three-year plan for a customer base that tends to replace phones every 18 months will get few takers.