How to Start a Wireless Phone Retail Store

Brainstorm to make your wireless store different from other established mobile phone outlets.
Brainstorm to make your wireless store different from other established mobile phone outlets. (Image: wireless phone image by robert mobley from

Wireless phone sales is a profitable business. Research firm Canalys reports that smartphone sales grew 886 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Manufacturers shipped more than 23 million units. While small size lured consumers in the 1990s, style and features have eclipsed compactness in the bid to compete with one's peers for the coolest phone. As technology improves, "new" devices become old news. Entrepreneurs positioned to provide wireless consumers the devices and services they want stand to turn a healthy profit.

Wireless Phone Retail Store Startup Guide

Make the business different from other mobile phone stores. Examine other cell phone companies and identify missing elements in their service, order fulfillment or products. Implement a strategy to incorporate those missing links to make your company competitive. For example, differentiate yourself in the market by appealing to a particular customer demographic. Cater to business women with families or build a cool wireless store that teenagers would want to hang out in. Stock up on cool accessories and create a gadget play area where teenagers can test new phones entering the market and munch on snacks while texting friends.

Get your reseller’s license and business license. Apply for your reseller’s license through the state department of revenue. It relieves you of the burden of paying sales tax on the phones you purchase for sale to consumers. Apply for a business license through the county clerk.

Estimate the cost of cell phone inventory, retail sales staff salaries for one year, building rent rates and other expenses the business may incur. Visit your local bank. Apply for a loan to cover the cost of getting the doors open on your wireless phone retail store.

Locate retail store space to lease. Look for available space in areas with a constant flow of casual shoppers. Negotiate lease rates with building owners. Don’t accept the first quote. Counter quotes with your own offer.

Join a retailer program through one of the wireless providers. Find a master cell phone agent who can sell you cell phones and wireless services. Master agents sell devices from multiple wireless providers. Search for master agents in the area through the state's chamber of commerce directory.

Make a list of wireless phones that you are considering buying. Purchase the newest models, along with accessories, that you think will sell well. According to an Entrepreneur Magazine editorial, "By first determining how much of what you are going to buy, you discipline yourself to be discriminating and to keep your buys in balance with your overall inventory needs." Negotiate first-time purchase deals with the master agent.

Purchase insurance to cover thefts of store merchandise. Get worker’s compensation insurance for the employees who will be selling cell phones and wireless service in your store.

Hire retail employees with sales experience. Advertise open positions in the local newspaper. Walk through the malls and watch cell phone salesmen in action at mall kiosks. Give them your business card and offer them a job if you like what you see.

Build a website as an alternative to in-store business. Upload pictures of your phone inventory. Hire a web designer to create your site. Inc. Magazine writer Michael Aneiro writes, "A website can serve as another sales channel, a place to feature products or just a resource for more information about your business."

Place advertisements in the newspaper. Create a grand opening promotion to get people in the store. Offer free or discounted phones. Give away matching accessories.

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