12/2/2009 1:06:00 PM
20:20 Mobile: ‘This has been a successful year for us’
How successful has 2009 been for 20:20 Mobile?
It has been a great year for us. We have maintained a healthy profit and won key contracts.
Has there been a particular contract you are proud to have secured?
Any major contract win in this financial climate is a success. When things have been tough, securing the BT, Phones 4u and Morrisons prepay contracts has been positive. And there are more contracts to be announced in the next month.
How important is collaboration in the business?
Partnerships are key, especially in these challenging economic conditions. Where we have strong partnerships are the areas that have stood the best in tough economic times. There is always an element of competitiveness in the market.
How have you addressed the challenging economic climate?
We have focused on partnerships and are continually strengthening them. We have increased the amount of products we can offer and developed the partner portal to focus on ecommerce and to drive efficiency. Twenty percent of our volume now goes through the web portal.
Where did the idea for the portal come from?
These things tend to evolve from both the customer and ourselves looking for ways to improve the business. Customer feedback tends to be quite strong and vocal, and that is the great thing about the mobile industry. We are continuing to enhance the portal and there is at least another six months of development work to happen. The web portal is good for the mechanics of the process, but human interaction is very important.
How is the premier partner programme going?
We have about 60 partners but the balance of making it a premier programme is important; there has to be a degree of exclusivity. However, there are still some partners out there that we would like to work with. Customers have the ability to earn rewards and are given preferential stock and pricing. We have had a lot of positive feedback.
What industry changes would you like to see?
I am happy to see the dynamics of the mobile market stay as they are. Smartphones are still performing very well. A lot of our customers have come into competition with IT sellers and I think there will be an increasing need for pre-loaded apps on handsets in the future. We are also starting to engage with IT resellers.
What was the logic behind the recycling website?
Recycling is a part of the market that is expanding and we have a lot of core skills that can add value to recycled phones – we have routes to market for recycled and refurbished products. We are doing relatively modest volumes now, but there is the possibility of a white label service for our customers. We are trying to engage with consumers because you have to look for revenue wherever you can in a tough market.
How does the accessories market look to you?
2008 was very tough for accessories – it was probably 30% down on the previous year and in the first half of this year there was a modest decline. However, a key area has been iPhone accessories, as we are O2’s accessories partner, and we hope to have success with other networks as they roll out the iPhone.
Do you have a bestselling product?
We are strong with BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and LG. We are keen to support as many key partners as possible.
How do you stand out in a tough market?
We stopped doing airtime around 18 months ago and we have no plans to return – there are enough people in the air time business already. Distributors all perform an aggregator role, the differentiating factor is the value added to propositions and execution. Efficiency in our supply chain is key and it really is about our people.