OPERATIONS

Survey: Convenience tops smartphone feature

BY Dan Berthiaume

Kirkland, Wash. — Consumers actually favor ease-of-use more than the latest device specifications, with many intimidated by jargon and technical data, when choosing a new smartphone.

A new survey from WDS, a Xerox company, also shows that a physical retail store remains the most popular destination for purchasing a new smartphone. Sixty-seven percent of consumers treat it as their primary destination while only 19% of buyers older 60 would buy their device online.

Other notable findings include:

  • Buyers between 25-34 years old and those older than 60 are the most likely groups to research and evaluate smartphones before visiting a store.
  • More than a third of shoppers younger than 24 will walk into a store knowing the exact make and model of device they want to purchase.
  • The importance of device brand declines with age.
  • Sixty-one percent of consumers stated that having the latest product specifications was of little importance when choosing their smartphone.
  • Network coverage and service reliability is considered more important than network speed by all age groups.
  • Consumers older than 60 are the most price sensitive when it comes to choosing a price plan. They are also the least interested in network speeds.

“We’ve interviewed hundreds of consumers to help mobile operators better understand how their customers navigate their way through the complexity of choosing a smartphone,” said Tim Deluca-Smith, VP of marketing at WDS. “The study highlights some important buying behaviors that will help mobile operators deliver a better retail experience.”

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Sears Canada plans 712 job cuts, including head office

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Sears Canada is undergoing a six-month reorganization that will result in 712 job cuts, including 79 staffers that have already been terminated at its head office. According to Sears, the head office staff reduction aligns its support structure with the size and volume of the organization and also takes advantage of internal processes that have been recently implemented to improve efficiency.

In addition, in its repair service division, Sears Canada will be shifting to using exclusively Sears-authorized contracted technicians in mid-markets, which it has been using in smaller markets for several years, resulting in a reduction of Sears technicians and support teams in these locations. Due to their complexity and size, major markets will continue to be primarily serviced by Sears technicians, although the teams will be streamlined. There has also been a shift of in-warranty repair work on major appliances from Sears to its suppliers as is the industry standard.

In the parts division, 16 existing stand-alone parts processing locations and a central processing center in Belleville, Ontario will be consolidated into three major fulfillment centers located in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Where a parts processing location is closing outside of these three cities, a parts counter will open in a nearby Sears location so that customers can continue to have local access. This model has been piloted in three locations with what the company says has been no impact to customer service.

The reorganization of repair services and parts will result in the streamlining of support functions in both the company’s head office and the field including consolidating the dispatch function to one English language center in Toronto and one French language center in Montreal.

"The changes we are announcing today are being made to bring the structure of our organization in line with the size of our business," said Doug Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. "These improvements are initiatives we are implementing as part of the efficiency lever, one of the three levers we utilize along with the merchandising lever and network lever to maximize total value for the organization. While right-sizing is important for a more effective enterprise, our greatest opportunity lies within the merchandising lever, where our focus is on providing quality products and services that Canadians expect from Sears when and where they want them at prices that provide great value.”

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Staples launches Staples Connect

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. — Staples officially launches Staples Connect, an offering that lets customers’ home or office technology interact and be controlled by a single app. With the touch of a button, in-store and online Nov. 27, Staples Connect lets customers shut down their office, turning off lights, lowering shades and locking doors, while at the same time turning on their lights and heat at home.

Staples Connect consists of a multi-platform app and universal hub that allow a multitude of devices to talk to each other. The Staples Connect Hub, powered by Linksys, is available online and in a limited number of Staples stores for $99. Staples Connect uses a platform developed by Zonoff Inc., which features a free, single app. Installation will be available through Staples EasyConnect and can also be performed by customers.

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