Selling Windows Phone (…and Windows 8)
Window Phone has not gained traction in the Market like Microsoft and many of us Windows Phone fans would have loved. Yes, Microsoft rushed Windows Phone to Market we know. They were caught sleeping on turf by iPhone, which raised the bar so high MS had to return to the drawing table, to “re-imagine” Windows Mobile platform. An effort that took them years to complete. With the release of the Windows Phone Mango OS, Microsoft can now confidently say “It is finished!”. Yes Mango is now full-featured and on-par with iPhone and Android; if not better .
So now we are left with the ultimate question, like the song goes: “Now that we’ve found Love, what are we gonna do with it?” How do we sell Windows Phones to the Masses?! I know Microsoft is going to be selling Windows Phone in their own shops, and they’ve got the strength of Nokia sales channel behind them, but is that enough?
We’ve been hearing the rumors of Phone shops refusing to sell Windows Phones to people, even discrediting it in the front of potential buyers, advising them to buy Android or iPhone instead. The mobile vendors are not doing enough themselves to promote the platform. When you go to any of their shops to see one “in action”, you are presented with a dead, or outright dummy phones. That will never sell the platform.
When you are lucky to find a working phone, the Sales rep. on the floor doesn’t have an inkling in what Windows Phone is all about. Most of them are Android or iPhone fanboys who have never used Windows phone before. Windows phones cannot be sold like any other platform. It is not a platform phone that you just pick-up in the shop and start pressing icons to see how it works. No, you have to use Windows Phone to get it, and to love it. Go ask anyone who have been skeptical about the platform; they all changed their opinion AFTER using it.
So, there lies the problem of Windows Phone! It is a people-oriented phone. It is not just a phone, it is an extension of yourself. You are the center of the universe, Windows Phone enables all the planets that revolve around you. Its everything about you! How do you sell something like that in a shop, where a buyer only has maybe 10 to 15 minutes to have a look?
A vanilla Windows Phone that is sitting in the kiosk is a useless phone! Looking at it wont impress till you sign in to Windows Live and connect to Facebook and Twitter and Linked-In and what have you. This is something that happened to me. I only have two words for you to describe my reaction after connecting my Windows Phone for the first time: “It’s Alive!”. That was my exclamation. People I have forgotten started popping up. Nothing beats that first impression. You can’t have such experience in a shop. No potential buyer will dare to enter his/her credentials in a sample unit in a shop. So you see the dilemma. Windows Phone strength is its weakness in a shop for a potential buyer.
Now that Microsoft is going the Metro-route with the same “People-centered” features of Windows 8, I am afraid Microsoft will also face a daunting task of selling Windows 8 to the masses. So I hereby propose a solution. Let every Windows Phone and Windows 8 ship with a fictive Persona account. Just one Universal account that MS will maintain. It will reflect a true identity of a person, with everything that a typical person does online, in business and private lives. It will have to be a feature-complete account. You know, like those fictive companies MS use to demonstrate its platform, i.e. Contoso, Fabrikam etc.
Let Windows 8 and Windows Phones be logged into this account by default in shops. Teach sales reps to know this account by heart. Then a potential buyer will see what these applications and platform is all about. It will show the strength of this platform like the way it will if you’ve been using the phone or PC the whole year. No amount of advert can sell Windows Phone or Windows 8 without its People-centric feature. Then sell the devices with this default account, but give the user the chance to wipe it at first install.
So, there you have it. What do you people think of this idea? Leave a comment behind, or tweet me on @McAkins.