3 out of 4 comm srvc providers plan to open more retail stores

In the study, global IT consultancy firm Accenture surveyed senior executives at leading communications companies in 18 countries, including India, to determine if retail stores were critical to attracting and retaining customers.

"More than three-quarters of respondents (76 per cent) said they plan to increase the total number of storefronts through which they sell," the report stated. The main reasons cited for increasing the focus on retail operations included demand from customers for stores to make purchases and interact with providers and the prospects of effectively up-selling and cross-selling and showcasing how their products and services work.

About 88 per cent of executives said a strong physical retail channel is either important or very important to their company's current growth strategy. In addition, 84 per cent of those surveyed said retail stores would remain important or extremely important over the next two years, the survey noted.

In an earlier consumer survey by Accenture, three out of four consumers surveyed preferred shopping in a communication provider-owned store when buying a mobile or any communication service. "We think operators can better leverage one of their most effective tools: the retail store. Our research has revealed that consumers want and value a compelling experience at the point of purchase, which is especially important as devices become more and more complex," Accenture Executive Director (Retail, Communication Practice) John Liesching said.

"Research confirmed that consumers want to touch and feel these devices, as well as learn how to get the most out of them and the store becomes the perfect place for that experience. There is mounting evidence that the retail channel will be crucial to communications providers' future success," Liesching added.

About 62 per cent of the providers represented in the survey operated retail stores in Europe, 38 per cent in North America, 38 per cent in the Asia-Pacific, 27 per cent in India and 16 per cent in China.

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