One Option : Outsourcing Inventory
By Joseph Palenchar On May 2 2011 - 3:01am
NEW YORK —
For retailers interested in maximizing
cellular profit, “the best case is running it
yourself,” said Brightstar’s Sally Lange, but do-ityourself
retailers assume the cash-flow risks and
the risk of “managing so many moving parts.”
To help retailers minimize the potential downside,
Brightstar a few years ago launched a virtual
inventory program in which dealers display
a wide assortment of handsets from all major
carriers, plus accessories, but Brightstar keeps
all inventory in its facilities until a sale is made.
“The dealer takes ownership once they sell it to a
consumer, and we ship to the consumer’s home,”
Lange explained. Mom-and-pop stores and some
regional retailers are taking advantage of the
program, she said.
Whatever strategies that retailers pursue to
launch or expand in-house cellular departments,
Wireless Zone’s Sinclair isn’t convinced they’ll
be successful running it themselves. “I can’t see
how a person who runs a CE store or other type of
store that is not core wireless can manage it with
the amount of changes that come every day of the
week, especially if they sell multiple carriers,” he
said. A new 4G smartphone requires 45 minutes of
training on the phone and its plans, he said.
“You have to focus on it as a core competency.
You can’t dabble, or the customer will get confused