Connections - Beating Sales Disasters Before They Happen
The wireless morass is just one part of the retail mess that will get worse as consumer electronics dealers increasingly handle complex service bundles. Satellite broadcasting packages introduced us to this arena, but at least there were only a handful of vendor choices. Broadband services—as pioneered by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable modem packages—escalate the dilemma, as customers must choose not only platforms and hardware, but also must ascertain whether a specific provider can actually reach their homes with high-speed connectivity.
And who is selling these sophisticated products and expensive bundles? Often, a kid whose enthusiasm for "cool" gear is offset by his own lack of knowledge about how customers will actually use these devices. The resulting confusion adds to the retailer's role as a hapless storefront pawn in the battle of telecommunications and media behemoths elbowing each other for market share and long-term commitments.
The hurdles created by complex products make a solution to this face-off even more urgent. The success of e-tailing is a reminder that customers often prefer no human salesperson to a confused clerk who cannot answer complicated questions.