O2’s Approved dealer scheme, which launched in April, provides around 10 selected dealers from each distributor partner with additional benefits, including the ability to sell the Apple iPhone, access to O2 back office systems, credited on the O2 website and six to nine month fixed commercials on sales.
Dealers claim from January a number of additional benefits including regular round-table meetings, offered as standard to O2 Advance direct dealers, will be offered to O2 Approved partners to enable feedback and additional help.
Also, dealers will be afforded improved commercial offerings to beat off competition from rival dealers on other networks, such as buying out remainders of contracts, or reducing line rental costs.
O2 dealers claim the move will help them compete with Vodafone direct, who are understood to have been “aggressive” with their pricing recently, which has seen many O2 dealers lose business as a result of being unable to compete.
O2 head of indirect partners Maggie Kennedy said: “We enjoy a very close working relationship with all our partners and hold regular roundtable and various events across the country with our partner community. This is great way to share insight and best practice across our entire partner channel.
“Throughout next year we plan to extend these by working with our Centre of Excellence Distributors and their Approved Partners as they are an important part of our business. These sessions are an ideal opportunity to update our partners on developments but more importantly to gain feedback and understand how we can help them continue to be successful.
O2 has also told dealers the network is to improve its commercials for Approved partners selling the Apple iPhone in time for its launch on Orange and Vodafone.
O2 Approved was created in April, and partners received a £50 connection bonus for every iPhone sale. However this ended in September and dealers claim its removal has made it difficult to achieve “acceptable” margins.
O2 has told dealers it will launch a new cash incentive to push sales on O2, rather than risk losing sales to its rivals when the handset is launched on Orange in November.
One dealer said: “It’s difficult to sell an iPhone based on O2 and Apple’s agreed pricing and still earn what you would consider to be a decent margin without the £50 uplift.
“O2 has told us it is aware of this issue and something which it is planning to rectify before Orange and Vodafone launch the device.”
An O2 spokesperson added: “We are always looking at ways to encourage our partners to sell more handsets and we will continue to incentivise them when we feel there is an opportunity to do so.”