The iPhone continues to inspire strong brand loyalty, but when it comes to other smartphones, retailers have a huge opportunity to influence buyers at the point of sale. Among 12,000 people who bought mid-to-lower-price smartphones this year, 34% said they had no specific phone model in mind when they entered the store to buy a phone, and 11% said they did have a phone in mind, but made a different choice once they were inside the store.
“Because the manufacturer is so reliant on the store channel, this points to the manufacturer having a CRM (customer relationship management) issue,” says Greg Wester, who manages Mobile Posse‘s Handset Owner Research Program. Wester thinks that handset makers who want to retain customers need to be messaging those customers when their contracts are about to expire, since that’s when most people upgrade their phones. “When you take away the really sexy devices there is a lot of uncertainty,” says Wester, acknowledging that there is less opportunity to convert committed buyers of iPhones or high-end Android phones. Indeed, a late-December ChangeWave Research survey of 4,000 North Americans planning to buy a new phone found that more than half planned to get an iPhone.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, the data again favors Apple. 75% of iPhone buyers said they were very satisfied, according to ChangeWave, compared to fewer than half of Samsung, HTC and Motorola phone buyers. Fewer than a quarter of BlackBerry buyers said they were very satisfied with their smartphones.
Those who make their purchase decision at the last minute tend to end up less satisfied, according to Mobile Posse. As a leading provider of homescreen marketing messages, Mobile Posse reaches consumers within the first 48 hours after they make their purchase. Wester says the company’s data shows that “when they are talked into a device at the store the satisfaction rate is a little bit lower.” Mobile Posse will is releasing the results of its Handset Owner Research Panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
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