Magazine article Marketing

Mobile Brands Feel Web Presence

Magazine article Marketing

Mobile Brands Feel Web Presence

Article excerpt

As Orange bolsters its retail network, research shows that consumers are shunning the high street to buy online.

Customers are shunning high-street mobile deals in favour of competitive internet offers, with in-store sales dropping by 50% in the first quarter of this year, according to research by GfK NOP.

The shift comes as mobile operator Orange presses ahead with plans to expand its high-street offering with the opening of 60 additional stores over the next year. Earlier this year, it said it would back the expansion with an increased emphasis on customer service, which it hopes will boost in-store sales. By contrast, other retailers and operators are reining in store expansion plans.

David J Smith, head of operations at ecommerce industry group IMRG, believes that consumers in the mobile and electronics sector are using stores in a different way as they consider purchases. 'Customers will often research a deal or product online, then go into the store to discuss or look at it before buying online,' he says.

Mobile operators such as 3 UK, O2, Vodafone and Orange have begun offering web-exclusive deals in an attempt to tap into this sales trend. 'It is cheaper to do business online than through our retail stores, so we are able to offer more competitive deals to our customers online,' said an O2 spokeswoman.

Many are also tying packages together with mid-range mobile phones, which have proved more popular than high-end products in recent months.

GfK NOP attributed the changes to increased consumer confidence in online shopping, and a growing propensity to hunt out deals arising as a result of the credit crunch. …

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