Survey: Communications providers to focus on opening stores

New York City Three out of four global communications providers plan to open more retail stores over the next two years and must cultivate an improved customer-focused experience to succeed, according to research by Accenture.

Accenture surveyed senior executives at the world’s largest communications providers to determine if retail stores are critical to attracting and retaining customers in an age of increasing online interactions. The executives cited three main reasons for increasing the focus on their retail operations: Their customers demand stores for making purchases and interacting with providers; The stores give providers a chance to effectively up-sell and cross-sell; and, providers can teach customers how to use their products and services.

Among the survey findings:

  • More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they plan to increase the total number of storefronts through which they sell, primarily with communication provider-owned stores.
  • Eighty-eight percent of executives said a strong physical retail channel is either important or very important to their company’s current growth strategy.
  • Respondents expect the physical retail channel to represent a larger percentage of total annual sales over the next two years, growing from 43% to 50%.

In an Accenture consumer survey conducted earlier this year, three out of four consumers said they prefer shopping in a communication provider-owned store when buying a communications product or service.

“We think operators can better leverage one of their most effective tools: the retail store,” said John Liesching, executive director, retail, communication practice, Accenture. “Our research confirmed that consumers want to touch and feel these devices, as well as learn how to get the most out of them -- and the store becomes the perfect place for that experience. There is mounting evidence that the retail channel will be crucial to communications providers’ future success.

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