VIDEO INTERVIEW: Jaymin Patel, industry newcomer and recently-appointed CEO of Brightstar, a worldwide distributor of handsets and other devices, says retail is becoming more complex for mobile operators as products diversify, but those that can adapt will be well placed.
“Wearables and accessories are all becoming part of the mobile phone purchase experience to keep the customer interested,” he told Mobile World Live in a recent interview. And if mobile operators can grab customer interest with a wider retail portfolio, added Patel, then they are more likely to be loyal.
Patel is only the second CEO in Brightstar’s 17-year history, filling the shoes of Marcelo Claure who last year took the helm at Sprint. His background includes GTECH, a lottery and gaming company which provides technology and services to customers in approximately 100 countries.
“There are parallels between the two companies [Brighstar and GTECH] that might not be obvious,” said Patel.
Each business, he said, seeks to help retailer partners in attracting customers and entice them to buy more.
“Retail is becoming a bigger part of the [mobile operator] value proposition to their consumers, with store fronts and ‘planograms’ all needed to be taken into account to persuade customers to buy certain products,” said Patel. “Brightstar is focusing heavily on how we can help our operator partners in their direct channel stores as well as indirect stores.”
Brightstar is already making headway in the accessories business. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, the company announced that its mobile accessories operations now represented an annual estimated retail value of more than $1 billion, making it one of the largest accessories outfits in the world.
Patel sees the Brightstar purchase of SoftBank’s Commerce and Service (C&S) division last year, which specialises in providing mobile accessories in Japan, as key for future growth.
“Our intention is to bring [C&S] know-how into the rest of the Brightstar portfolio, and expand that through to retailers and operators,” he said.
And Patel’s priority in the first weeks and months in his new role? “Listening to customers’ needs around the world,” he said. “If they are successful, we are successful.”