There are a number of metrics that retail stores use to measure their success, or otherwise, in addition to sales figures. These include the footfall, in other words, the number of people entering a given store. Stores also measure the conversion rate, that is the number of people entering the store who decide to buy something. And last month, Sprint's "Cut Your Bill In Half" offer raised the profile of the business and helped bring customers into the stores. The offer centred around allowing AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers to switch to the Sprint network, offering unlimited minutes and text messages, matching the data allowance but halving the cost for the monthly plan. And according to a report from Placed, a business measuring where people go by tracking their mobile 'phones, Sprint's offer caused a significant spike in people entering their stores. During the first week of the deal, Sprint's stores saw seven times the industry average during the week – this is a significant bump! During the second week, this spike dropped down but store footfall was still above the industry average.
According to Placed's list of top hundred businesses based on footfall, Sprint are ranked at position 87, which is some way behind AT&T (at 43) and Verizon (at 35). But the increase in footfall has certainly helped keep Sprint ahead ot T-Mobile US, ranked 99 in the survey. Sprint are working hard to stay as America's number three network after T-Mobile has pledged to outgrow their nearest competitor. T-Mobile US' chief executive, John Legere, believes his business has already surpassed Sprint in subscriber number terms but are waiting for the Q4 results. We will find out a little later in the year how the carriers are jostling for position; that coveted number three spot is hotly fought over.
I wrote of two metrics in my opening paragraph, one being footfall and the other being the conversion rate. We don't know what happened to Sprint's conversion rate during these busy two weeks and whilst we'll likely be able to piece together some evidence of an uptick, unless Sprint disclose the information it is likely to be lost in the Q4 data. At the time of the deal, there was some less than glowing press over the offer, but ultimately customers' perception is that they were getting something similar to what they were getting at a cheaper price. Many consumers are price-driven and the promise of comparable service at a cheaper price is tempting. Of course, one of the reasons why Sprint have declined as a carrier is because of the perception of poor coverage, data speeds and customer services. This is but a battle in what is likely to be a protracted, long term war.