Convenience store retailers offering prepaid wireless, have struggle to sell expensive mobile phones in an attempt to become destination spots not any more with grab-and-go kits and cellular phones activation portal, that will add new revenue stream and foster destination purchases without the hassle of selling handsets or inventory costs.
The emerging bring your own phone phenomenon have put retail stores in the driver's seat, as people start to understand that they need only to swap out the phone’s subscriber identity module (or SIM) card to switch carriers and potentially cut their rates in half.
The movement rides the trend of no-contract plans. Because no contract and prepaid wireless are essentially the same thing: monthly pre-service billing and payment via snail mail, retail, online or mobile methods. But the term prepaid suggests the unbanked, while “no contract” appeals to the credit-worthy customer who simply wakes up to the obvious deal.
For the retailer, it’s a reconnection to what had always been a growing revenue stream: wireless refilling in a prepaid environment. It’s a somewhat complicated but nonetheless happy concept, potentially breathing new life into a struggling category.
“The prepaid wireless has fallen to where no-contract wireless is a bigger portion of the business, a lot of programs are coming soon to help against the small merchants and big stores.
The proliferation of mobile phones has had a distinct effect on both retail sales and operations, providing opportunities to sell actual products and services as well as driving efficiencies that range from bill payment to increase repeat store traffic. In addition to the SIM kits and in-store activation cellular phone portal are the trends:
• Virtual aisles. A customer can shop for items online, via mobile phones or through terminals at the store and have the product delivered to his or her home or to the store for later pickup.
• Gaming. Everything from lottery to poker is on the horizon in prepaid formats, with legislation tying the cards back to the brick-and-mortar store.
• Transit cards. Seeking to cut the cost of handling coins and bills, cities and municipalities are introducing prepaid cards for use on public transportation.
• General-purpose reloadable cards targeting higher-income demographics. New packaging is being unveiled. Though specifics have yet to emerge, new wording and graphics will talk about the product in a way that’s appealing to a more upscale yet budget-conscious demographic.
Bring Your Own Phone
The idea of a bring-your-own-phone kit may have been too strange for consumers to grasp five years ago, but times have changed as mobile phones have become more imperative to people in recent years.
The traditional customer was cash-based, someone who ran out of minutes, came in and topped up. The new customer is signing up for a $50 rate plan due every 30 days. They pay digitally and want a feature or smartphone.
Overall, the no-contract wireless business has been growing, going from $24.5 billion today to a projected $38.2 billion in five years, The number of subscribers will go from 79 million as of 2012 to 129 million by 2017.
Research shows the main barrier to people switching from post-pay to no-carrier plans is education. In its survey of customers conducted last December, as many as 53% of customers with a post-pay plan either don’t understand no contract or did not know anything about it.
For retailers, many positives exist. The product is a no-fuss, prepackaged kit, housing a SIM card that comes with a certain number of minutes or in-store activation cellular phone portal for Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and many more . The product hangs on shelving units. Margins are strong. The risk of theft and loss is reduced and the retail store becomes a point of activation, so the merchant now sees greater value within their business.
While in various stages of development, other products in the category are also starting to heat up, ranging from momentum within the tried-and-true to state deregulation opening new opportunities.
Among the tried-and-true products are general-purpose reloadable debit cards. Much in the same way no-contract cards are becoming popular with higher-income customers, so are prepaid reloadable cards. The growing need to control budgets or to better handle teenagers and their financial needs has led many to use prepaid, These cards are ready with messaging changes to better connect with parents and other more upscale customers.
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Thursday, October 31, 2013
Convenience store retailers offering prepaid wireless with SIMS and Cellular Activation Portal are Seeing the Light
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