Apple v Samsung: The Battle For The Showroom

Over the last several years Samsung has become the largest provider of mobile phones in the world. Many people will argue that Samsung has done a great job advertising and manufacturing their products. My personal feeling this that Samsung's ads are terrible and their recent products are even worse. This is just my opinion. Based on the sales Samsung accumulates every quarter I would be in the minority.

I wanted to reach people who have been in sales to see if their experiences were similar to my own. About four years ago I was working at a large retailer in their mobile section. I had worked for this company for many years, but this was my first and only experience in mobile. Cell phones, in the US, are primarily sold with contracts. The retailers typically get paid on the contracts they sell, not the phone. We started selling the iPhone 3GS about six months into its release. The place I worked didn't pay commission, but were expected to hit sales numbers individually and then get paid as a group. There was a list of how much the store would get paid if we sold and upgrade, a new line, or anything else. This is notional margin. It's then amount the retailer expects to get paid, but it's not real and the amount varies. From what I understand the sales people at Verizon or At&t get paid in a similar way, just on commission.

At a certain point At&t stopped paying us for selling iPhones. We were told that because At&t has to pay so much for the iPhones they end up making very little or no profit by selling them. Obliviously as sales people wanting to do our jobs and get paid. We would talk people out of buying iPhones or sway them in a different direction. Sometimes people would spend a lot of time trying to get people to switch. I use an iPhone and looking back I must have looked ridiculous talking up phones I wash't using. From what I understand this still works the same way for retailers.

Now to my point. If Apple offers no incentives for other retailers to sell their product, they must be pushing people to something else like I was doing. The logical choice is the Samsung Galaxy SIII/IV. Samsung has provided the marketing to create brand recognition. Recognition is the biggest problem for smaller companies. One of the most common things I would here when trying to sell an HTC phone is, "Who is HTC?" Now this was years ago, but I sure the point still stands somewhat true. Everyone knows who Samsung is. It's also on every carrier.

This is the scenario I see playing out at retail:
- Non-tech savvy person walks into a store.
- They say, "I'm not sure what I want. My friends say buy an iPhone because it's the best, but I've also heard good things about the Galaxy."
- Naturally wanting to make money the salesmen sells them a Galaxy phone.

This is were I'm looking for input. How much do sales people drive sales? I ask this because most of the people I know that have something other then an iPhone didn't go to the store to buy it. They were sold into it by the sales person.

Hope this makes for an interesting discussion. Looking forward to feedback!