2020 has most certainly been a year for the history books.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been working remotely from Athens, Greece with my team, helping telcos all around the world digitally transform.
And because I’m in Greece, I’ve been learning about the market and investigating local telco retail stores.
There are three main wireless operators in Greece: OTE Group (Hellenic Telecommunications), Vodafone Greece, and WIND Hellas. In addition to the operators, there are consumer electronic retailers including Germanos (OTE Group), Media Markt, Kotsovolos, and Public.
There’s a lot going on here and I wanted to share my first impressions of the Greek market and its competitors.
First and foremost, every store looks almost the same!
From store size to estate, locations, merchandising and marketing, all of the operators have implemented the same strategies. Besides price, a little device exclusivity, and small changes in data packages, there is very little differentiation among the operators.
The result? Marketing messages don’t stick, there are small movements in market share, the retail execution isn’t unique, and there is little reason for customers to stay or leave.
On a positive note, Greece is home to a great 4G network, has a decent fixed-line infrastructure, and has easily accessible stores; everyone is well connected.
Overall, there are three main issues I see repeated by the telcos in Greece:
Retail stores are very product heavy. While this does mean that customers can shop for everything from a mobile phone to tablets, MiFi and various accessories, it also means these retailers are displaying over 50 devices.
This must make inventory management a nightmare. I can only hope these telcos have exceptional omnichannel strategies; otherwise, I predict many have weighed down balance sheets.
For Greek telcos, digital marketing is reserved solely for social media and a few screens in the store. Packaging and promotional displays are poorly designed, offers are printed on leaflets and brochures, and the sales counters are fixed in place - no tablets for mobile transactions can be seen!
These paper-reliant stores are costly, complex, and contribute to passive, responsive customer experiences instead of efficient, engaging ones enabled by tech.
Queuing at the moment is extremely important for obvious reasons.
Greek telcos are responsibly limiting the number of customers in their stores. This is enforced manually, and some stores are policed by security guards. This has resulted in long queues that trail outside the store, creating a confusing experience. It’s clear no customer control systems are being used.
All of these issues can be solved by a simple store re-design or by implementing basic solutions, such as paperless digital signing tools or queue management and appointment booking systems.
There is ample opportunity in this market to stand out and create an experience for customers unlike the competition – the right tools and solutions just need to be leveraged.
In part 2 of this blog, I will dive deeper into the 3 main telco providers and identify some top areas for improvement.
If you're interested in the Greek telco market, watch out for more blogs and vlogs on my LinkedIn profile – and if you’d like to chat, pop me a direct message.