A group of phone dealers whose main stay is swapping old handsets for new or fairly used phones are angry at a new Samsung promo which offers phone users the chance to swap any phone for a brand new Samsung phone.
Samsung Ghana introduced the Smart Trade promo on Thursday and it will run till August 30, 2014.
The promo allows users of Nokia, Blackberry, Tecno, Huawei, Alcatel Onetouch, LG, HTC and any other brands of mobile smartphones, who wish to swap them for a Samsung smartphone to go to designated Samsung shops and do so.
But the company said phones brought in for swapping would be valued based on three grading categories; perfect, good and non-functional/broken.
Samsung West Africa Director of Handheld Prodcuts, Jaspreet Singh said in a statement “once it has been graded, the customer will receive a discount coupon credited against the sale price of a new Premium Samsung phone. This will further offer much needed relief for customers who wish to move to the latest handsets at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Singh said customers could get a value of up to GHC1000 for devices traded in to acquire the latest Samsung Galaxy S5 or other Samsung devices including the, Galaxy S4, Note 3 and Note 10.1 among others.
Mainstream handset retailers in Accra say the promo will affect their sales adversely for the one month period, but there are hopeful sales will pick up again when the promo is over.
But the phone swapping dealers at tip-toe lane say the promo will destroy their business for one whole month and they will not countenance it.
They are therefore threatening to storm Samsung offices and shops and Accra and burn them down if the company does not suspend the promo.
Meanwhile some competitors of Samsung in Ghana have rubbished the move as a lame attempt to revive their declining market share.
One industry player said Samsung’s market share has been declining lately because their main distributor, i2 Ghana, who helped them to get to number one on the market, has now taken on other brands like Huawei, Alcatel and LG for distribution.
“They (Samsung) are doing this out of fear of losing substantial market share but it will still happen not matter what they do,” another said.
One said “this is pure ambush marketing intended to phase out other brands but it is not sustainable – ambush marketing is legit but I bet Samsung is walking a very slippery road because now consumers are very insightful and they know what they want.”
That industry player also argued that the sales and marketing people at Samsung have their jobs to protect and so they are employing a hardline measure but it is completely subject to the consumers’ taste.
Another industry player said “this is a legitimate aggressive marketing strategy intended to kill other brands. What we can do in response it to have a have a similar strategy or much stronger one to neutralize what Samsung is doing and to sustain our brand.”
One other Samsung competitor said they will review the whole move before they comment.
Industry watchers think the move by Samsung is purely a marketing strategy subject to consumers’ choice.
They even likened it to the ongoing Mobile Number Portability system in Ghana, where phone users practically trade their SIM cards on one network for another SIM card on another network but with the same phone number.
“If a telco chooses to do an aggressive MNP campaign, their competitors cannot accuse them of unfair practice. In the same way competition cannot accuse Samsung of unfair practice. It is purely a matter of choice – it will deepen competition and ultimately inure to the benefit of the consumer in terms of price cuts,” one watcher said.
Meanwhile phone users have welcomed the move and some are already rushing to the designated Samsung shops to swap their phones.
Some phone users who visited some Samsung shops in Accra to trade in their phones claimed they were told the promo is limited to Galaxy S3 phones and above.
“When I went to their shop I was told the least phone I can take away is Galaxy S3 so if they value my phone and it is not up to the price of Galaxy S3, I would have to top it up because the other Samsung Smartphone lower than Galaxy S3 are not part of the promo,” one person told Adom Business.