Financial analysts and experts have long predicted the impending collapse of RIM, and its star-child Blackberry. However, what matters is whether the users, retail giants like Verizon, AT&T and the investors will decide to abandon the RIM ship or wait in hope of a rescue boat.
The millions of users of Blackberry products present a huge opportunity amid the present conundrum and a scope for potential chaos from the marketing point of view. It is not an unimaginable scenario that RIM crashes without advance notice, and millions of Blackberry products stop working. Although, it is hoped that such a situation can be avoided, or perhaps postponed. Such a ‘run on the bank’ panic will result in retailers swamped with confused and angry customers, and loss of millions in revenue from customers who are holding malfunctioning Blackberry products. Retailers wouldn’t want to see themselves in such a situation. In particular, top honchos of Verizon and AT&T would be seen huddling to form marketing strategies and offer Blackberry users better long term contracts and aim to also grab market shares from other retail competitors.
There are many such offers that retailers could use to make the best of the situation. They could offer upgrades or exchanges to all Blackberry users. For those who are not entitled for a free phone, they could be offered heavy discounts for registering in a new contract. If such a step is carried out gradually, retailers can mitigate some damage if Blackberry closes its shutters. New contracts and purchase of new smartphones will also benefit business. Retailers might also partner with Samsung for such a move.
Such moves will obviously result in RIM crying foul, as it could be the death knell for the company. RIM will file lawsuits, but the retailers’ primary aim should be to satisfy their customers. They would need to word their offers in such a way that RIM doesn’t feel threatened. The retailer who figures out the best formula will capitalize on the market situation.
Even though there are hopes of RIM surviving this storm, the odds of its collapsing are larger, and a bigger opportunity whether it does or not in allowing consumers to leave it now. If it survives, it will still have some customers who stay on board, but if it doesn’t, retailers would have insulated itself and users from the situation. The solution here would be to find the most profitable method.