This week my son, who has a Nokia Lumia 920, came to me and showed that the screen of his phone was unusable. The screens glass was not shattered or broken, but the screen showed some wired stripes and otherwise it was black. You could receive calls with it, well it ringed but you could not press the answer button as you could not see it on the screen. The apps were still running as you could hear the notification sounds. Unusable.
Restarting the phone did not help. So the decision was then to buy a new phone. And as he is also a Windows Phone user and has all his stuff backed up in the cloud, of course the next phone would be a new Lumia.
We decided to buy the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL. Now here comes the hard part. I went to the nearest electronic store which was Gigantti in Espoo. They had wide range of those Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 635, Lumia 435, Lumia 532 and even a Nokia Lumia 830 on display for demoing purposes. But there were no phones on the store, the only one you could go straight out of there would be buying was a Lumia 435. And that was not the choice we made, we wanted the Lumia 640 XL that day.
The sales rep was friendly and checked in which other Gigantti stores I could get the Lumia 640 XL on the same day. Only one, which was in the center of Helsinki and I did not want to go that far. Of course there are other possible stores to buy the phone.
I visited another electronic store, with the same result. Then two other stores I knew, but they were discontinued. Then finally I went to my mobile operators (Sonera) store and to my surprise there also were no Lumia phones for sale. Fortunately next-door was another operators (Elisa) store, which then finally had the Lumia 640 XL on shelves and I could even pick the color.
The sales reps at Gigantti and Sonera told me I could order the phone from their online shops, but I could not wait for 5 day delivery, I wanted the phone on the same day. Every online shop I visited later had the phone for order, but that’s not the answer.
There are still real stores where people go, want to try and buy it or as I, I wanted the phone the same day . But if you do not have it, you cannot sell it and the customer buys something else usually a competitors phone. It is hard to gain market share if you do not have the phones on sale at the stores. I do not think this is entirely the fault of Microsoft, but also the fault of the stores to keep them on stock at the stores and not only on central storage for online orders.
On the same day Microsoft had a happening for invited online bloggers and media, introducing the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagships. Praises were good and the person from Microsoft said with these new phones they would gain more market share again (?). Won’t happen if they are not on the stores for sale.
Microsoft should give the chains, store sellers an incentive and big marketing campaigns to have those phones on the shelves for customers to buy. Apple and Samsung have them and that’s why they are successful. Nokia used to have a strong marketing force, use this force and gain more market share.
I am a geek and I have pre-ordered the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL without touching it or trying it before, but there are millions of non-geeks, ordinary consumers that want to do that and buy it directly from the store. Keep them happy and gain market share.
The only acceptable reason to have those phones out of stock at the stores should be because of a huge demand.