SOURCE: Brightstar


February 16, 2011 09:42 ET

Mobile World Congress News: Driving Velocity at the Point of Sale

BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwire - February 16, 2011) - Retailers of all types are embracing the wireless category, but competing in the wireless market is more complicated than ever.

Training clerks to handle consumer questions requires a great deal of product knowledge and market intelligence. In addition to helping a consumer select the right product, retailers must also be equipped to attach and activate the right service plan. Expertise and intelligence become even more critical when you consider the rapid pace of innovation with regards to technology. New products and services are being announced almost every day.

That's why retailers turn to Brightstar, a leading global service provider to telecommunications companies. Brightstar's array of solutions -- serving Manufacturers, Operators, Retailers and Enterprises (MORE) -- evolve as fast as wireless technology itself.

Within Brightstar's retail services, its category management solution brings global experience and unmatched wireless know-how to optimize the wireless category for retail. Brightstar enables retailers to bring new devices, operators, manufacturers and emerging products to market. Brightstar's retail services team then drives product sell-through with programs and services that improve the consumer experience.

Store-within-a-store is another concept evolving around the globe that Brightstar helps foster.

"Retailers often start their journey into wireless selling prepaid," said Sally. "It's simpler, but the opportunity for increased revenue and a 'stickier' customer experience often lies in postpaid or contract wireless offerings. Postpaid brings more money, but it requires agency agreements with operators, customer contracts and device activations; all steps that are complex and require a dedicated and experienced sales force."

Some retailers enter postpaid by renting a kiosk space within their store to an operator or multiple operators. This is rarely ideal, however, as the retailer cedes the customer relationship and typically does not fully financially benefit from the activation. Others choose to outsource a kiosk to an expert third party organization who can manage multi-operator offerings in a highly consultative solution, creating a true "store within a store" environment.

A few retailers evolve to full end-to-end ownership of the process when they are truly expert in running and managing a wireless category.

In Turkey, for instance, which is primarily a pre-paid market, Brightstar is helping an operator run stores within stores to market postpaid service.

Virtual inventory is another option Brightstar offers, enabling a retailer to offer a broad array of mobile products without having to stock or handle any in-store inventory. Brightstar's virtual inventory program (or VIP) expands the product portfolio by providing virtually any device or variation in color, size and model for the retailer's customer via an online catalog. But the consumer makes the selection with the assistance of an in-store salesperson -- creating the best of both the online and inshore experiences.

Through the use of Brightstar's proprietary and patent pending Serial on Demand technology, the selected products' exact serial number is transferred to the point of sale in real time, allowing the immediate processing of the activation contract and assignment of a phone number. Then, Brightstar's automated and robotic operations system selects the reserved device in Brightstar's warehouse and ships to the exact specifications for that consumer.

Another critical issue for wireless retailers is multichannel shopping. A recent study published by IDC indicates that in store sales influenced by online customer research are three to four times larger than total e-commerce sales1.

"Consumers are doing research that informs their buying decisions online, on the phone, and in the store," said Lange Witkowski.

"This shift in consumer behavior makes it critical for retailers to integrate their sales strategy across multiple channels. Our technology and expertise in wireless can help them achieve this."

1 (IDC Retail Insights and Hybris. "Unified Retailing - breaking multichannel barriers").

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