When we started planning this blog, we’d intended to offer some generalized advice about promoting online sales of mobile devices. While online is a vastly important channel for carriers, OEMs and retailers, it still only a small percentage of total new smartphone sales. The vast majority of phones were still sold in retail stores.
Then coronavirus happened, then lockdown happened, and suddenly this blog became a lot timelier.
Right now, in most parts of the country, if a consumer wants to purchase a new smartphone, they more or less have to do that online. If you weren’t selling phones online before, you should start planning on implementing sooner rather than later. If you already have an online sales program in place, you need to make sure it is optimized to maximize revenue. You need to upsell in order to replace sales lost by the closure of retail stores, and you need to improve the buying experience in order to capture and preserve customer loyalty.
Overcoming Customer Inertia
Coronavirus isn’t the only thing preventing phone sales. Customers have been waiting longer and longer to replace their smartphones, with the average time to replace now over three years.
Right now, the consumer confidence index has tumbled from 136.2 in February to 86.9 in April, the lowest level in six years. Consumers are worried about the economy, they’re worried about their jobs, and they’re worried about finding toilet paper in stores. This is not good news for mobile device retailers.
Device retailers should focus on their online experiences and creating new incentives for consumers to make purchases. We do not want the only reason consumers will purchase new phones to be if they drop and break their old ones. This is not a sustainable business model.
Instead, carriers, OEMs and retailers need to incentivize consumers to turn in their old phones before they reach end-of-life, using trade-in and other rewards to drive new phone sales.
Using Trade-Ins to Spur Purchases Throughout the Customer Journey
Right now, customers aren’t going to want to buy new phones based on simply having the idea – you must tempt them into it.
This probably starts with an online advertisement – no real need to reinvent the wheel here, just find customers who are likely to be close to getting ready to upgrade and then show them the latest trade-in deal. Ads on Twitter, Facebook and search engines represent the usual channels, but carriers can do one better by embedding their ads into branded mobile applications, customer service apps, or customer loyalty apps. Carriers can even send push notifications and text messages, assuming that the customer has opted in.
In addition, there’s the nature of the trade-in itself to consider. Usually this is just “cost of new phone – market value of old phone,” but there are variations. If you want to attract customers from another carrier, you can offer an outsized promotion – the value of the customer’s phone doesn’t necessarily have to correlate with the value you’re offering. If the customer’s phone is a lot closer to its end-of-life, you can still give discounts on accessories or a better deal on a data plan. If your customer is a high revenue customer, you can offer them something like a single-use promotion code that will offer an even greater trade-in value.
You also may need to consider that some customers are still using older or more damaged phones that have little resale value. You still want these customers to trade in their phones! If you offer them a chance to donate their phone to developing country, or assure them their phones will be responsibly recycled instead of ending up in a landfill, customers will be that much more likely to trade in their phone and make a purchase from you.
Perfect Your Trade-In Customer Experience with HYLA
To make the purchase experience memorable and create loyal customers, the trade-in process itself should be as smooth as possible. We recommend making trade-in part of the purchase flow. As an integrated part of the purchase, your trade-in program should instantly offer credit and discounts to the consumer, providing a “wow, that price is so much lower” moment that will help consumers commit to the purchase without abandoning their shopping cart.
Here at HYLA, we offer a fully integrated purchase experience that’s highly customizable to your needs. We white label our trade-in experience, allowing you to brand the trade-in process and make it your own. You can integrate the process with your purchase experience or make it standalone, offer any kind of reward, or even offer personalized rewards based on unique customer data.
Meanwhile, HYLA takes care of the trade-in behind the scenes. We’ll send the customer an envelop or box, or even provide them with a printable shipping label so they can mail their trade-in phone directly to our Technology and Processing Center.
Online is going to be the primary way to purchase a smartphone for the foreseeable future. This means that all carriers and smartphone resellers are essentially competing based on customer experience. With an integrated trade-in option, you can help differentiate yourself from your competitors and capture even more revenue – even during lockdown. For more information, contact HYLA today!