Marketing 101: Sales of BlackBerry Z10 at NYC Area Best Buy Stores–Room to Grow!


I visited several  Best Buy stores today, March 22, 2013, on the official AT& T in store presence of the BlackBerry Z10, as a follow-up to my recent post of March 12, 2013:

My Visit of Best Buy Stores in The NYC Area to Gauge BlackBerry 10 Readiness:$50 Gift Card On Pre-Orders

My findings: smaller neighborhood stores sold 1 device today (two different suburban stores;one in NYC/Yonkers/Bronx/Mount Vernon border), a medium sized store in a more affluent market sold 6 Z10s with two returned (a repeat visit to a store, in Westchester County, from 10 days ago, where the RSAs were well trained on the device). A large downtown location in NYC open 24 hours near NYU sold 16 but had 3 returns.  A store on 23rd Street in NYC sold 3 Z10s.  These findings were by 7:30 pm tonight.  None of the stores had any end-caps or signage for “BlackBerry Z10”.

One Best Buy store had 70% of sales with Sprint, which is not carrying the Z10, and the other 30% split between Verizon (Z10 not available yet) and AT&T.  This obvioulsy impacted sales of Z10 devices.  Many people in the NYC area have Sprint as their carrier as PCS seems to work in the subways.

Several of the Best Buy associates have been given Z10 devices; one has been using it for three days and is very impressed, but still seems to be waiting on the Galaxy S IV. He loves the hub, time-shift and typing experience on the Z10, but would like easy access to his text messages from the home screen notification, bypassing the hub.  I’m not sure what the big issue is here, other than one of comfort/familiarity, as right after entering one’s password, on the Z10, the first app page appears, and the text app is the second one down in the first column-taking you right to the text messages:


Alternatively, if apps are open, after login one can just swipe left or select page 1 to go to the text app, or enter the hub, with the upside down “L” swipe from the center of the bottom bezel, and select the text view only:


In the above image, above the phone symbol, we see the available pages, left to right: hub, open apps, page 1 of apps, page two of apps etc.  Swiping right to left from the right bezel will scroll through these pages and the reverse swipe, to the right from the left bezel, will navigate back in the opposite direction back to the hub. The new QNX based OS is very flexible and powerful, but does take some getting used to for a certain “comfort” level. Significantly,  this associate is using the Z10 now, almost exclusively.  Two other associates also liked the said features, and everyone loved the alarm clock with the cool fade effects and the ability to set all notifications off or just allow phone calls. At this “border” store, there are three pre-orders with Verizon and 5 black Z10s in stock for AT&T.  One Z10 was sold today, by 7:30 pm.

Personally, I don’t believe that BlackBerry should rely on Big Blue, as this is a big box outfit that is not doing well.  Diversifying in store with other retailers such as Staples, and Radio-Shack and with the carriers is the right approach.

I suppose that marketing the BlackBerry in the USA is not easy, especially when one compares the creative and fun Apple ad running now (with images of Einstein, the iPhone app solving the quadratic equation, artists using a paint app etc) to the BlackBerry ad. Apple manages to show off the iPhone while the catchy jingled BlackBerry “Keep Moving” ad shows little of the device and expects people to go to a web site to “learn” more. Marketing 101 would say this will not get too many folks to go to a web site to “learn” more. People today aren’t interested in “learning” they want to be entertained while enlightened! C’mon BlackBerry Marketing…step it up!  Give us a call and we’ll help drive sales!  We were the first to use “flick” after all wrt typing on the new keyboard. I was not for the ad agency they hired and kept on, AVM BBDO, preparing catchy jingle ads with no substance. That approach is fine if you are a market leader, but not if you have no “mind-share” in the market, as I have mentioned previously on this Blog. In that case, you need to follow up a fun Super Bowl ad with substance.  I for one am disappointed in the marketing effort so far! Decide on the message and DELIVER it! Take a look at the Bell Mobility ad, as an example of fun with “messaging”:

Compare the current Apple ad to the Z10 ads and take our poll here:

Which Ad Do You Like More Apple v. BlackBerry and Tell Us Why, Take Our Poll

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