12/9/2009 12:10:00 PM
O2 launches campaign to boost Palm Pre
O2 is sending specialist training staff into its stores in an attempt to boost faltering sales of the Palm Pre.
O2 touted the smartphone as an ‘iPhone killer’ when it launched the device under a two year exclusive deal with Palm this autumn, but retail staff have reported a disappointing response.
Palm Pre sales levels have been hit by a combination of O2’s strict credit checks, tough competition from the Apple iPhone, low brand awareness and minor software glitches, according to staff.
One O2 retail manager told Mobile: ‘We have sold 20 times more [iPhones than Palm Pre handsets]. The iPhone is a more established brand and there has been more advertising. They are both good handsets but, with such a small price difference, customers take the view they might as well go for the iPhone.’
A retail manager in a major Phones 4u store said: ‘One problem is that O2’s credit checks are much tighter than Orange’s. We have lost customers because of that, so now we won’t try and sell the Pre unless a customer specifically asks for it.’
Software problems are also affecting sales of the Palm Pre, according to retail sources, and returns are relatively high. One source said: ‘We have sold less [Palm Pres than iPhones] but there are more returns because of software problems.’
Retail staff attending an O2 supply chain meeting reported seeing large
amounts of unsold Palm Pres in the warehouse.
O2 has now deployed a team of sales specialists to train in-store staff in a bid to boost Palm Pre uptake in the Christmas period.
An O2 spokeswoman said the network was ‘happy’ with Palm Pre sales. She added that although there was not any ‘extra training’, there was, ‘of course’, training on the Palm Pre.
The spokeswoman said: ‘We do like to make sure that customers appreciate the different benefits of each handset, but this applies to our whole range and not just the Palm Pre.
‘Our credit checks have often been criticised for being too strict; we have even had customers calling us to complain about it. But we try to strike a balance between protecting the customer and protecting against fraud.’