High street competition
For the grocer, it could be offering packaged school lunches for busy moms and takeaway Banting meals for slimmers. The landscaper would make sure their existing client base knew about their follow-up calls, replanting colour, mulching and lawn care. The bookseller, aware that more than half their previous customer base now buys online, could organise regular cookery demos by food writers/bloggers, together with kids' activities and a coffee corner, especially during school holidays to lure moms in. Self-help writers talking about their 'how to' books...
Same old, same old...
And telecommunications? What are they doing that's new and innovative? "There's room for improvement," says Eleanor Potter, Consumer Executive at Altech Autopage. "Relying on one revenue stream today is a definite business risk. To make your business sustainable, you must have a minimum of three different revenue streams. In any business there are peaks and troughs - if you only have one revenue stream, you'll feel those troughs."
South African prepaid revenue is taken from devices, simcards, airtime and data - so what about climbing on the e-commerce bandwagon and offering mobile banking, where users can do away with banking fees and can do transfers for free. Everyone loves the word free
Making a shop floor profitable
South Africa can be proud of its smart retail telecoms outlets, but are these being fully utilised, square metre for square metre? With the decline in voice revenue and the growth in data usage, you have to look at what else your customer needs. If you already have a retail footprint why not sell security and cloud services?
A corner of the shop offering a repair service would be first prize, but if there's not enough room, what about a service offering diagnostic software enabling phone problems to be analysed in-store while you wait? This would be a great service for the customer who's not inconvenienced by having to leave their phone at the shop, and who will then spend time browsing around the store - more sales?
Making consumers' lives easier
A common problem for consumers is losing data, so a simple service could be backing up people's devices and giving them a copy on a memory stick with their contacts and photos. "If you sit down and analyse what telecommunications means within a retail environment, there's so much you can offer a consumer. Retail also services small businesses and home offices. One thing they have in common is that they want a convenient all-in-one service," says Potter.
Very few telecoms retailers stock a full range of accessories, with new outlets specialising in such things as cellphone covers springing up in every mall. Another cash opportunity lost.
"When I visited Spain in 2011 to look at mobile operators, they were already offering ICT solutions and even video on demand out of their retail outlets. Although their stores aren't the same as ours, they had five different revenue streams making sure they are sustainable," comments Potter.
"The purpose of retail is to get people to come to your shop to spend money and have a good experience. The telecoms retail landscape must change to stay relevant. Today's customers want more for their buck..."
Information provided by Altech Autopage.