retailers

The Xbox One launch is going to be massive. Stores are struggling to keep up with pre-orders (I've personally had my own order put in "queue three" with my local GAME store), but fear not if you've yet to pre-order the console. UK supermarket chain, Tesco has some stock put to the side at its Extra stores that will go on a first come first serve basis.

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Mega-retailer Best Buy has invested some serious time into training employees at their brick and mortar stores about Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8. Speaking to Forbes, Best Buy's merchant vice president for computing, Jason Bonfig, said that they have dedicated over 50,000 hours to making sure certain blue-shirts, Geek Squad consultants and "Microsoft Advisors" all have a working knowledge of Windows 8, so they can help customers feel comfortable with what is surely a change in what they are used to seeing on a Windows computer.

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Online tech superstore Newegg has updated their official Windows Phone app to version 1.1 and added some pretty nice features. One major addition to v1.1 is live tile support.  Newegg "Shell Shocker" deal notifications can now be pushed right to your start screen. The ability to view your order history has also been added, as well as an update to the checkout process.  Version 1.1 also brings some minor bug fixes along with it.

The official Newegg app sports a handsome, easy to use Metro-style interface and gives you full access to everything they have to offer.  If you are a geek, and you don't know about Newegg, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto!

You can get Newegg's official app here in the Marketplace for free.

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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It would appear as though some UK retailers and carriers are silently ditching the HTC TITAN (our review) Windows Phone from their online properties. Retail chains include The Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, as well as O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange. Searching the websites for the handset yield no results. We've reached out for possible confirmation of / reasons behind the sudden removal.

Could the TITAN not be selling well enough, or will we be seeing a compatible TITAN II hitting the UK shores? Should you be interested in the TITAN I, you can still pick one up from Amazon UK (eXpansys), Clove UK and BuyMobilePhones to name but a few.

Thanks Sam for the tip!

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According to a report by Professeur Thibault, Microsoft France is using an external agency to help tackle sales staff issues the software giant has experienced with their mobile platform since its launch back in 2010. Nokia recently took incentives to the extreme with rewarding a top T-Mobile salesman to VIP treatment at CES 2012.

Microsoft and their hired guns will be ensuring employees at various stores around the country have effective training to sell Windows Phones. A source (which chose to remain anonymous) informed Professeur Thibalt that while he did not have confirmation to what exactly the incentives would be for sales teams across France, he was able to go into detail surrounding the training. The agency Microsoft has partnered with will be providing 30-120 minute sessions, coupled with hands-on walkthroughs and a short questionnaire at the end of the training.

Each trainer will be looking to visit up to 60 stores per month, and once stores have received the main training exercise they will be revisited 1-3 times per quarter. Although the source failed to obtain incentive details, he did mention that a free Nokia Lumia 800 or Acer Allegro could possibly be included for the staff of the store that sold the most Windows Phones. Doesn't sound like a bad combat plan.

Source: Professeur Thibault (translation)

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While Microsoft already has a feedback website dedicated to Windows Phone owners providing suggestions on features in the OS, what was missing was an official location to allow users to voice their apparent frustration when it comes to marketing and promoting the mobile platform. We've all had issues with the lack of 'umph!', until Nokia came on board and blew everyone away with tripling marketing expenditure when their family of Windows Phones were announced at Nokia World 2011 in London.

We've now come across a UserVoice page set up by the Windows Phone team that allows users to submit suggestions on how the software giant could improve marketing, and vote on other submissions.

"Just like with your suggestions on features to add to future versions of the product, we'd like your suggestions on how we can spread the word about Windows Phone itself via advertising campaigns, community or social media involvement and other types of promotions. Creativity highly encouraged, let us know what your ideas are!"

Be sure to head on over to UserVoice and input your ideas (or ensure that your favourite suggestions get bumped up by voting). We know a good number of our readers have some thoughts on how Microsoft can improve in this area.

Source: UserVoice

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Microsoft's Ben Rudolph tweeted to let Windows Phone retailers that there's a new app designed just for them.  Retail Insider offers vendors news, tips, info about the Windows Phone products they sell.  It also alerts them to promotions, contests and learning content exclusively for retail sellers.  The app fully integrates with Facebook, Twitter and email.  Key Features include:

  • Multiple Live tiles you can pin to your Start Screen that show the latest content updates
  • A device library with demo suggestions and selling tips
  • A curated list of the best Windows Phone apps with links to Marketplace
  • Easy sharing of app content via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail
  • An aggregated stream of updates from Microsoft’s social media channels for retail sellers
  • One-click access to customer demo videos that help you show your customers the best features of Windows Phone
  • Built-in Windows Phone FAQ and quick links to step-by-step how-to’s

You can download for free here.

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While the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S are both proving to be fairly popular in the U.S., we've heard analysts down Nokia for Lumia 800 sales and the manufacturer bouncing back with positive statements. MyNokiaBlog have compiled some feedback (published at Nokia Connections) from carriers and retailers in Europe, which all show positive signs on how well the Lumia 800 is selling. Nokia (and Microsoft) have the daunting task to help train sales staff in stores to push out Windows Phone handsets and is needed after reports we've received from those who reside in the U.S., Europe and (more recently) Australia. We're going to leave this to the employees at UK carriers and retailers to explain how things are going.

Joe Moody, Orange:

"This phone is the best phone out there by far. I have managed to switch 15 customers within a week to pre order the Lumia, I love the device so much I can’t wait to get one when I’m due a new phone, the customers that are interested in apple iPhones or galaxy s 2 I manage to persuade some to go for a Lumia."

Ian McLaren, Carphone Warehouse:

"The Lumia is flying off the shelves, especially from one who has really taken the training on board and pitching them to everyone. The main things that are selling the phone are the design, superb screen and the way the social networks are integrated into the phone OS so don’t need to keep switching apps and all the messages are compiled into one thread.

From a standing start, Nokia have really grabbed people’s attention with the Lumia and the advertising is starting to pay off as people are coming in and asking about the handset, and asking to upgrade to it."

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Remember our coverage earlier in the year where we looked at how abysmal the selling (and marketing) of Windows Phone in retail stores across Europe and the U.S. was? Well it looks like it's Australia's turn. WPDownUnder have ran a superb article covering their experience in a number of stores located in Melbourne. According to their report, Microsoft's marketing efforts in Australia have been weak, and stores are continuing to push out Android handsets and the iPhone. 

They visited a handful of mobile phone retail stores and compiled data on pricing, demo units, and feedback for both the platform and Nokia. We wont ruin the cold-call report over at WPDownUnder, so here are the statistics they ended up with:

  • 13 stores checked (probably 90+ % of main shopping centre/mall outlets).
  • 5/13 stores selling WP7 (just better than 1 in 3).
  • Only 2 of those 5 report moderate to OK sales of WP7 devices.
  • Of those 5 stores, 2 stores sold 2 models, 3 stores sold 1 model.
  • In all 13 stores, between 25-50 handsets would have been on display in each store on all platforms.
  • Only 1 store (Mall kiosk) had any form of Point of Sale information (other than handset tag info).
  • Only 4 of 13 stores spoken to demonstrated any knowledge of Nokia and WP7.

We recommend you check out the full report (link below) for an insight into how awful Windows Phone is in Australia, along with some interesting observations made in some stores. Let us not forget Optus believing the Samsung Omnia 7 runs Symbian. Hopefully Nokia could sort things out with some advertising in Australia should Telstra get hold of a Lumia device.

Source: WPDownUnder

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In less exciting news, but still important, Microsoft is pushing the benefits and power of Windows Phone 7 for the retail and hospitality market--a large swath of potential business, including retail stores, grocery markets, shopping centers and more.

Microsoft will be appearing at the National Retail Federation’s 100th Annual Convention & Expo, demonstrating numerous apps to potential customers:

The demonstrations will showcase how Windows 7 enhances connected store, customer and operations experiences on the desktop as well as via an array of mobile and in-store devices, including smartphones, point-of-sale (POS) devices, self-service transactional kiosks, and informational kiosks, including digital signage.

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.

One real life example they give is the app Tesco Real Food, available now in the Marketplace. The app is by retail giant Tesco, who have over 5,000 stores worldwide. The app is a mobile extension of the Tesco Real Food website for recipes, so nothing too exciting.  While some of this is boring and dry, it's these connections and technology demonstrations that gets Microsoft into stores, personalized apps for unique shopping experiences and basically noticed, so we're all for it.

Source: GoMo News

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.
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