Vodafone mounts direct sales push to turn around fortunes

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Vodafone mounts direct sales push to turn around fortunes

Vodafone plans to open 20 business retail stores in Australia by 2017, as it tries to claw back customers amid continued financial losses.

Fresh from signing Synnex to bundle its plans, the telco has revealed ambitions to have a “large retail presence” in every state selling to small business customers.

The telco opened its first Vodafone Business Centre last month in Eastwood in Adelaide, which it described as a “major milestone” for its small business operation.

Four more stores are planned to open by October this year – one on the Gold Coast, and another three in New South Wales in Crows Nest, Guildford and Parramatta. All stores will be wholly owned and operated by Vodafone.

The telco also wants a further 15 business centres opened by 2017. Vodafone wants to open the stores where there is heavy foot traffic and strong network coverage.

In a first for Vodafone, it will sell its machine-to-machine technology from the business centres. The stores will also sell business plans, smartphones, tablets, mobile broadband products and accessories.

The plan is a further sign of Vodafone’s intention to make business customers part of its comeback. Last month it announced a B2B partnership with Synnex, which will distribute voice and data plans bundled with devices as well as standalone plans. Vodafone has also made significant price cuts to its small business plans.

Results reported last month showed Vodafone recorded approximately a $184 million loss for the first half of the 2015 financial year, an increase on the same period a year earlier.

While it lost 45,000 customers in the first half compared to the second half of 2014, customers excluding those of wholesalers were up year-on-year by 2.1 percent to reach approximately 4.9 million. Revenue was also up year-on-year by three percent to $1.8 billion.

The telco is not the only one looking to open up new retail sales channels. Dodo has been selling at least 30 kiosk franchises, which sell broadband, phone and electricity plans, as well as various gadgets. An advertisement earlier this year stated Dodo was expanding “towards 150+” kiosks.

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