One of the biggest problems (in my opinion) with cell-phone carriers these days is the inability to really try a cell-phone before you purchase. When a customer walks into Best Buy, they are expecting to touch, look at and play with the devices inside the store. Best Buy stores (and other similar retailers) generally have a section of technology products that a customer can demo—be it a laptop, desktop or other techno-widget-device, however when it comes to cell phones everybody is lacking it seems.
When a customer wants to consider purchasing a product, the easiest way many sales veterans might advise would be to get the product into the customers hands. At stores like Best Buy, Costco, and many cell phone retailers this is where they go insanely wrong. They get a “model” of the product into the customers hands. It’s a plastic rip-off without any functionality. In the age of touch-screen-enabled devices and the mobile-app economy, the former ideology of placing a cheap plastic prototype on display for customers to see is a bit absurd. How many people would actually walk in and say “Man, this plastic container fits my hand perfectly, so the phone’s operating system, applications, screen, etc., must all be great in the real thing.” Nobody.
I’d propose fixing this problem by having the likes of LG, Samsung, Apple, Palm (HP) and all the other carriers get a device to put on display that actually works. Maybe lock it down or disallow the addition of apps in the various models, but the days of a plastic model being the means for making a decision on a new cell phone are long gone. With increased projections for cell-phone sales this year, it might be time to put some actual sales tactics to use for some of these stores.