BENTONVILLE, ARK. – To align its cellular departments with its
cost-conscious customer base, Walmart prominently positions prepaid phones on
end caps, offers only prepaid services in its new mobile broadband areas, and
features a broad array of free phones.
Also in line with the company’s low-price strategy, the company –
like Best Buy and RadioShack – does not offer mail-in rebate programs, which
are commonly used by carriers to reduce advertised prices.
“Walmart’s strategy is always low prices to be delivered to the
customer immediately, so we do not participate in rebates,” a spokesperson
explained. “Either we lower the price of the phone as soon as possible – like
the iPhone – or we will offer an immediate value of a gift card with a phone.”
In the company’s Riverdale, N.J., store, 18 of 35 handsets on
display on the store’s wireless counters were free phones. The handsets
featured Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T service.
Two sides of the four-sided department featured phones from the
three national carriers on waist-high counters angled up toward the customer. A
third side featured a dedicated iPhone display and a dedicated BlackBerry
display with a cellular-accessories display sandwiched in between.
The department featured two touchscreen displays that consumers
could use to select phones, carriers and service plans.
Near the cellular department’s counters, an end-cap display
offered Verizon prepaid phones in clam packs. A second nearby end cap featured
Straight Talk prepaid phones in a box and prepaid cars, along with three
tethered mockup phones.