How to Increase Retail Sales in Wireless
Dec 1, 2020
Wireless retail operates on the thinnest of margins—and COVID-19 hasn’t exactly helped.
Although industry sales have declined only 1.3 percent in 2020, any decrease hurts retail wireless stores. Brick-and-mortar locations still contribute 63 percent of wireless purchases—even during a pandemic, people prefer coming into wireless stores to look at and buy smartphones and other devices and accessories.
With the pandemic and the resulting shaky economy, customer experience and employee engagement become more important than ever. Here are some strategies for increasing retail wireless sales in a crazy world:
Upsell and Accessorize
An estimated 275 million people in the United States use smartphones. Considering that the U.S. population is around 330 million—which includes millions of little kids who don’t own phones (yet)—that doesn’t leave many first-time customers to walk in the door.
Instead, wireless retail stores must focus on how to increase sales with existing customers, including:
- Upgrades to better and/or newer phones
- Contract renewals
- Carrier switches
- Value-added services (VAS)
Accessories and VAS provide an especially nice profit margin—but you need to actually sell them to realize that profit. The responsibility for upselling and convincing customers to buy that wireless headset in the store, instead of online, often falls on employees. If your people aren’t engaged with their jobs and the customer experience, they’ll struggle to turn upsell opportunities into sales.
Customers walking into a retail wireless store may need to purchase something, but they don’t necessarily want to be
sold to. By giving them an experience in which they feel smarter and more confident about the choices they’re considering, you increase the odds that they’ll decide to make a purchase. This means your sales team must become experts in the products and services you’re selling—and sound like experts instead of salespeople when talking to customers.
Creating this expertise requires properly training employees on all the ins and outs and pros and cons of your store’s products and value-added services. It also includes encouraging salespeople to focus more on the customer and less on the sale. For example, instead of pitching an unlimited data plan at the beginning of the interaction, an employee could ask customers if they watch movies on their phones or if they’ve ever been charged for extra data in a month—and then continue a conversation about a faster phone or an updated data plan from there.
Ignite Employee Enthusiasm
Before the pandemic, employee turnover in retail was at 76 percent. In other words, if you look at the employees at your store right now, only 1 of 4 may still be there in a year. Whether or not 2020 improves or worsens that percentage, this much is clear: Getting retail wireless employees pumped up about their jobs can lead to increased sales and impressed customers.
Long-term workers in a wireless store know the products and the plans, and both easily and confidently provide this information to customers as needed. New employees need to be trained and have their hands held—and if they leave because they don’t like the job, you’re back on the hook to hire, train, and monitor replacements.
A better solution is to inspire employees to stay in a job they might not, at first, think is so inspiring. Some ways to motivate your salespeople—and increase retail sales—include:
- Incentivizing team sales: Challenge employees by offering rewards for increased store-wide sales. Incentives, such as an extra vacation day for everyone or a margarita party (after hours, of course), unite the entire team toward a common goal—and they encourage employees to support each other in pursuit of that goal.
- Leaderboards: Digital leaderboards provide a bit of friendly sales competition among employees—and chat connected to a leaderboard app offers a means for friendly trash talk. Just be sure that the effort remains positive and that every employee has a reasonable chance of earning rewards, no matter how other people perform.
- Incentivizing individual goals: Give employees their own personal incentives that can be cashed in for rewards. Some workers may be shy about participating in leaderboards, but with individual goals, they can increase sales in ways they’re personally comfortable with.
- Focusing on VAS: Value-added services truly are valuable because they don’t take up space in your store but they deliver a huge return. Emphasize this importance to employees, and tie VAS sales to your team’s incentives.
- Gamifying promotions: Tie gamification (e.g., employee contests, leaderboards, incentives) to new product and service launches, such as when a new version of a phone is released and your store is heavily promoting it (because that upgrade is ultimately profitable). Challenge your team to bring in a certain number of sales in the first week or month, while the fire is hot and you can reasonably charge a premium price for the new product.
- Gamifying the customer experience: Closing the sale is obviously important for boosting retail results, but so are successful interactions with people coming in the store, high customer ratings, repeat visits, and so on. These soft outcomes often lead to sales—just sometimes not right away. Successes can be gamified as well, with leaderboards set up to track, for example, employees with the most positive ratings, or to reward associates mentioned by name when a customer returns to the store.
These strategies build enthusiasm in employees who now see every person who comes in the door not only as a potential sale, but also as an opportunity to contribute to their own good fortune. Your salespeople realize the fun in their jobs and stop looking at each shift as just another day until something better comes along.
Track the Data
Whichever strategies you pursue as you decide how to increase retail sales at your wireless store, be sure to track the data generated from your efforts. The effectiveness of promotions, marketing campaigns, new products, and employee initiatives should be measured, because you can’t afford to simply cross your fingers and hope something is working.
For example, quality employee reward and gamification solutions inform you of who’s participating, how often they are participating, and who’s excelling. When you cross-reference that information with your sales data, you get a clearer picture of the success of your efforts—and what you should do next.
To learn more about how employee reward programs drive enthusiasm and increase retail sales, download our guide.