By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Wireless carrier companies are often trying new promotions to get subscribers to switch to their service, but Sprint is bringing the store to the customers. The wireless retailer is going to begin testing a home delivery service, called Direct 2 You, for smartphones. The Wall Street Journal broke the news earlier this week. Customers who purchase a phone, mobile device, or tablet from Sprint in the test markets will be available to have their purchase hand-delivered. With Direct 2 You, customers will be able to receive tips and guidance on how to use the new device.
Customers who are eligible for Direct 2 You are upgrade customers who are purchasing a newer model device than their current smartphone. The service includes the Sprint employee setting up the newly-delivered phone, complete with transferring files and troubleshooting. To roll out Direct 2 You, Sprint plans to have a fleet of 5,000 Sprint-branded vehicles through major metro areas by the end of 2015. Testing is already underway in Kansas City, Missouri area, not far from Sprint's corporate headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. By April 20, it will expand to Chicago, Illinois and Miami, Florida. Direct 2 You is offered free of charge, and the service should take from 45 minutes to an hour, once a representative arrives. It's mainly being used by subscribers who are upgrading to a new phone, but is offered to new customers as well.
“With our new Sprint Direct 2 You fleet of cars, it’s as if we are adding 5,000 additional stores,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says. “However, these mobile stores will be continuously on the move based on customer demand.”
The Verge reports that under Direct 2 You, employees can also offer the customers a bill-credit as part of their trade-in program while helping customers with their new phone, an offer that customers will likely find enticing. Sprint's Vice President also told The Verge that customers can request Direct 2 You representatives to meet them at any location, such as their workplace or even a fast-food restaurant. He explained that customers will receive a call prior to a representative to showing up, with the call meant to confirm passwords are safely stored and help begin a phone-to-cloud backup. The new service removes the need to wait for a Sprint device to arrive via mail, and lets customers have an experience similar to those typically done in-store in the comfort of their home, or wherever they meet a Direct 2 You representative. It should be appealing to any phone user who doesn't have time to travel to their nearest Sprint store or may be wary about ordering online, since Direct 2 You is about “bringing the store experience where and when you want it,” according to the press kit put out by Sprint.
“With Direct 2 You, Sprint brings an amazing, convenient in-store experience directly to the customer – in the comfort of wherever they want to be. Customers will never have to worry about transferring their own data or being handed a device they do not know how to use,” adds Claure.
This month, Sprint began the task of rebranding nearly 1,435 former RadioShack stores to increase its retail footprint. The retailer entered into a joint venture to co-brand the stores after RadioShack filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sprint plans to hire 3,500 new employees to staff the new locations. The move doubles Sprint's real estate presence, and the new store-within-a-stores will sell sprint mobile devices and plans. Sprint is now also the primary brand on the storefronts.