TS Retail - in search of unrestrained sex

It's not quite the usual headline for a material about the format of retail stores from TS Retail and the changes taking place in connection with this, but this is how the company itself sees its mission in the market. According to Sergey Fomenkov, General Director of TS Retail, today “the Russian market is at least 5 years behind grocery retail, it is a struggle for a buyer with the help of prices, assortment, but not service and quality of service.” In continuation of the story, Mr. Fomenkov expressively describes the employees of other networks: “The seller meets the buyer like a grumpy wife with a rolling pin - well, what are you looking for today? We don’t have any rolling pin in our hands, we will only have unrestrained sex.”

Let's take a look at the epic saga of the search for "unbridled sex" performed by TS Retail, but first we need to understand what was the reason that prompted AFK Sistema to create such a company.

Victim of circumstances or stepson of Sistema

In the case of MTS, the creation of its own retail network was a response to the activity of Beeline, as well as the first steps in this direction by Megafon. With the scope inherent in all undertakings of AFK Sistema, the retail network was created on a large scale and without regard to any experience. The main task was to make it better than everyone else, richer and more pleasant. The result of this approach resulted in the rapid growth of the network, as well as a complete disregard for the realities of the market. In order not to be unfounded, I will give the main reasons for the failure of retail from MTS as presented by Andrey Chukaev, director of the office sales and service department at MTS (at the end of 2006 - beginning of 2007).

  • Wrong location chosen (far from pedestrian traffic, duplication resulting in only 12% connections in offices).
  • Inappropriate format (office space not retail, combination of technical and retail spaces - visitors rarely become customers).
  • Large size (larger than required, 210 sqm vs. market average of 70 - this results in high transaction costs).
  • Suboptimal processes (does not meet retail requirements).

In December 2006, Mr. Chukaev spoke openly about the need to reorganize the retail network, presented options for its restructuring, and for the first time spoke about the potential for selling the services of various companies that are part of AFK Sistema through a single network of stores.

Within the framework of MTS, a lot of work is being done to change the formats of stores, bringing them to market realities. Suffice it to say that in 2006 a third of all stores were either closed or upgraded. For the format from MTS, this is very significant money, which does not look like a trifle for the operator and negatively affects its performance.

At the same time, MTS has always lacked an understanding of what a retail network is, and the main task was seen in the point of sale to increase the efficiency of communications with consumers, retain "heavy" subscribers, and perform service functions inherent in MTS offices. Probably, the phrase “supported the premium quality of the MTS brand” says it all. Not a single retail chain can become profitable under such conditions, it has no real benchmarks and indicators, and management is reduced to creating a mythical added value of the parent company, in this case the operator.

What happened in the end? For MTS, the maintenance of the “daughter” became unprofitable, and there was no real result. It was necessary to technically and calmly get rid of the retail burden, but retain full access to it. That is, to create conditions when you do not particularly pay for the pleasure of premium. The way out was found among the Sistema projects, which never reached the stage of mass implementation.

"Single point of access"

In May 2005, visitors to the Moscow SvyazExpocomm exhibition were waiting for the main event, the launch of i-mode by MTS, but other projects of AFK Sistema somehow remained in the shadows and were forgotten. However, at the opening of the exhibition, the first attempt to integrate the services of various companies under the name "Single Access Point" was rather pompously presented. In this project, it was assumed that the user would receive plastic cards of various denominations, with the help of which he would be able to pay for the services of all companies included in the holding. That is, a kind of universal means of payment, regardless of what services and from which "daughters" you use.

The prerequisite for the emergence of this project in 2005 was the desire to jointly promote various companies, provide a synergistic effect, but in many ways use the boom in sales of plastic payment cards. The release of single payment cards with a single design made it possible to save significantly in the long run, plus it advertised all companies at once. The disadvantages were the relatively high cost of integrating heterogeneous equipment in all companies to a single standard. But a undoubted plus in the end would be a single technical component of all companies, the possibility of conducting cross-marketing campaigns. For example, you actively use a phone from MTS, but you receive bonuses in the form of a free home phone from MGTS and without any applications and red tape. Sounds nice? Yes, but without a technical basis, this is practically impossible to implement. Difficulties of this kind put an end to the project, although it was promised to be launched by the end of 2005. The specialists working on the project at that time did not understand what political and technical difficulties they would face.

The result of this project was the collection cards of the "Single Access Point" issued for the exhibition, as well as the website www.all-sistel.ru/. It was promised to be closed at the end of the exhibition, but they forgot about it, it still works, although it has turned into a ghost of a former project.

But in 2006, the fallen banner was picked up by the management of MTS, because the idea was right. Having slightly modified this idea, the company decided that it would be interesting to sell all the services of "daughters" in one place. So the old project got a new life and used the original name.

LLC or OJSC - transformations along the way

The spin-off of MTS retail business into a separate company with 100% operator's capital happened in a very short time. The decision was made and it was implemented. In fact, there were no preparations, no reflections on this topic, the task was to reduce the burdens of low-income retail and its impact on MTS (EBITDA > 50%). The company was founded on December 26, 2006, and a number of comments directly state that the reason for the emergence of TS Retail is not economic, it is a technical move.

But at the time of creation, it was already said that there was no detailed plan for the development of the network, and other Sistema enterprises would be invited to participate in the project as partner-co-investors after the adoption of the strategy. At the same time, the PR service of MTS confidently declares that the basis for sales will be the services of the company, as well as the company's partners, that is, there will be no actual changes.

A paradoxical situation is created, which is so typical for Sistema: first, a decision is made, then it is implemented, and only then they begin to work out options for a development strategy, look for people for key positions (at all levels), in a word, carry out planned work. Does this seem unusual to you? But in fact, what was said at the end of 2006 becomes possible only after a year.

The company was registered as an LLC, but its creation was really technical. In fact, the company took over the management of MTS sales points, its website was registered in March 2007, but is still used only for mail, there is still no WWW site. Do you imagine that any of the retail players today can afford the absence of a website? It seems unlikely to me, not to mention the banal direct sales of equipment through the network.

But besides this, there are other problems that directly affect the company's business. Over the past year, TS Retail has not acquired direct contracts with equipment suppliers, in particular, the main product - mobile phones. If you visit an MTS point of sale, and then visit TS Retail, which is outwardly indistinguishable, you will be surprised by the difference in the goods on the shelves. The assortment of TS Retail is almost half as large, it looks poor. Mr. Fomenkov says that "the absence of direct contracts is not a problem, we can often buy cheaper on the secondary market, within the country." It may be true, but the assortment speaks for itself.

In any case, at the moment the registration of TS Retail OJSC will require the conclusion of all contracts for this organization, which also means the loss of some time. The technical moment plays an important role here.

Who will be the shareholders of TS Retail OJSC? MTS will receive 25 percent in the updated structure, while 5 other companies will receive 15 percent each, these are Comstar-OTS, Intourist, Sistema Mass Media, MBRD, and MTT.

110 + 50 = 160 - does not add up.

Let's think that MTS will give its 400 remaining stores to the management of TS Retail OJSC.

110+50+400 = 560 – it turns out much more, plus there should be 250 mono-brand stores.

Is any company on the Russian market able to open 400-500 salons on its own within 2 months? The unequivocal answer is no. Everything rests not only on the premises, which are remembered in the first place, although the lack of space is very acute, everything also rests on the need to staff the point of sale with employees. We will talk about this separately, but for now I want to note that today TS Retail does not have enough of them for the existing network either.

So the company's plans look like a utopia? Not certainly in that way. For two years, persistent rumors have been circulating in the market that MTS plans to acquire one of the existing retail players. Negotiations of such a plan were indeed held periodically, but there were no results, since MTS did not understand the concept of their retail network and how they could return their investments. Recently, a wave of rumors has resumed, so, in the CNews material, it is stated, citing a source within the company, that Mr. Fomenkov is negotiating with Eldorado Mobile, as well as the Betalink network, on the possible acquisition of their points of sale.

A number of other companies can be added to this list, but this does not change things. In terms of a possible acquisition, the priority belongs to the Betalink network. Too converge various factors on this company. Judge for yourself. In Russia, only for Betalink, a mass rebranding of communication stores was launched, the concept was developed by the British company Fitch, which traditionally works with all the subsidiaries of AFK Sistema. For example, Fitch designers created Detsky Mir stores in a new format, they also had a hand in Single Access Point 2008. But, in my opinion, the priority of Betalink remained the same, fortunately, Mr. Fomenkov joked very harshly at the press breakfast about the concept of mobile salons with new products and the like. It is unlikely that he would do this about the network he plans to absorb.

There are no prerequisites for the sale of Eldorado Mobile, at the moment it is a very actively developing network, which looks like a favorite, squeezing old-formation companies out of the market. She may well claim third place, after Euroset and Svyaznoy.

Until the end of 2007, a clear answer from the representatives of the company about the magic number 1000 was not received. Such plans were made in the spring of 2007, but by the end of the summer they were replaced by cautious comments that this was not the main goal. According to TS Retail, positive EBITDA should be achieved in this business, which is the main objective of the project. AFK representatives have repeatedly stressed that existing retailers have zero EBITDA, and their task is to increase the margin and profitability of the business.

It turns out that the company "TS Retail" without buying someone will not be able to reach 1000 stores before the end of 2007. In principle, the game in the number of salons until the end of the reporting period has long been known among retail players. According to companies, this gives special value to the brand. For example, at the beginning of 2006, you say that you will have 2,000 points of sale in your network by the end of the year. The fact that there are only 400 of them at the moment shows your capabilities - finances, human reserves, and so on. At the end of the reporting period, you open at most 200 points of sale, but boldly build new Napoleonic plans. The majority have already forgotten about the old ones.

Does TS Retail play these games? In my opinion, definitely yes. In the absence of a sufficient number of employees, the company cannot expand dramatically, as the whole of 2006 showed. There are no growth reserves as such, and there are no market advantages, with the exception of access to “cheap” loans and financing from Sistema, either.

Until 2010 inclusive, the company plans to open 3,000 retail outlets (both monobrand MTS and under its own brand). The market leader, the Euroset company, today has a little less than 5000 points of sale, Svyaznoy - more than 1200. The same Svyaznoy plans to increase its own network to 2000-2400 points of sale over the same period of time. Why not more? The main problem is not opening points of sale, but maintaining the marginality of the business, which is impossible without a training program for salespeople, managers, in a word, personnel. Only by growing personnel, the company opens new points of sale, this process is interconnected. Opening just points of sale for the sake of quantity automatically leads to a deterioration in all financial indicators. Does TS Retail have an undeniable advantage in retail sales? According to the representatives of the company, this is a new retail store format invented by them.

Single Access Point 2008 Format

In order not to be confused with the names, let's take one of the working names as the main one, let it be "Single Access Point" or just a Hotspot. It is planned to introduce several innovations for the Russian market for the first time at Tochka. One of them is a self-service zone, in which the user can replenish his account, buy this or that service, in a word, relieve sales assistants in the store as much as possible. "What's new here?" – boldly ask you. The company believes that by opening round-the-clock access to this zone, they will be able to attract more customers. The format is exactly the same as in ATMs, only there the entrance is carried out with your magnetic card, here, apparently, it will be possible to enter without it. Such a self-service zone becomes possible through cooperation with the IBRD, the bank actually installs its own ATM and expands its network, this is a positive moment for it. In this aspect, perhaps, I am inclined to agree that the Point will outperform ordinary communication stores, they do not offer such a service. But the question arises in the demand for such a service at night. If it turns out to be noticeable, then copying from other retail players cannot be avoided.

The company is guided by the fact that for a comfortable purchase, two buyers should have at least 10 square meters of retail space. At the same time, the area of ​​salons will vary only in three sizes.

  • Kiosk is a store in a mall, a place with high capacity but no space or high cost. Not a priority, looks like a response to the need to cover large areas. The cost of opening this format ranges from 12 to 20 thousand US dollars. Area - about 10-15 square meters. meters.
  • Regular point of sale. The area of ​​such a salon is at least 50 sq.m., the location is within walking distance, that is, such points are not oriented towards those who drive up in cars, this is generally a key feature of the concept. The cost of opening is from 50,000 USD, while the salon area is 80-100 sq.m. will cost about 100.000 USD. From this we can derive a simple formula that for TS Retail the cost per square meter is about 1000 USD.
  • Flagship. Shops ranging from 150 to 300 square meters. They are mainly located in large cities, unlike ordinary stores, they have a demonstration area where it is planned to show new products and services, that is, to acquaint customers with how it works.

For a regular point of sale, the amount of product balances is not less than 100,000 US dollars. It is assumed that the operating margin of an individual point should be 8 percent.

Fitch was involved in developing the concept of Tochka's retail space. If anyone is interested in how this concept looks in practice, then you can see it on the example of the Betalink salon in Ramstore Capital, on Vernadsky Avenue in Moscow. Not only zonality coincides, but also the name of the corresponding zones, their purpose. There is only a self-service area at night.

So, you are greeted by a self-service zone, here you can pay the bills of any of the companies that are part of AFK Sistema, in the future, and a number of other companies. For example, today it may be the first SkyExpress air discounter.

This option of payment and ordering goods is very interesting, but it will be used only in one case: if there are a lot of visitors and buyers at the Point. If this does not happen, then there will be no need for this.

The last zone refers to the slow purchase (45-60 minutes), here they will issue insurance, loans, issue credit cards, trips to other countries, perhaps something else. For convenience, sofas are provided, as well as a coffee machine.

To be honest, in such zoning there is practically no know-how, everything is ordinary, another thing is what and to whom they are trying to sell at TS Retail, there are a lot of unusual things.

Audience portrait and product list

Willingly or unwittingly, but the company's representatives all the time emphasize the peculiarity of the TS Retail store format. Mr. Fomenkov says that it is impossible to call their stores with the word “salon”, this is something else. Tochka stores are designed to satisfy the basic need of a modern person, namely to eliminate the lack of time. That is the only reason why goods from various companies are collected under one roof, here you can find both financial services from the MBBR, and trips to Turkey or Egypt, air tickets, as well as goods traditional for communication stores (phones, laptops, mp3).

In fact, it turns out that, when you go to pay for communication services, you suddenly and impulsively take a loan for a trip to Egypt, and then buy something else. It looks at least strange.

The main problem in trying to sell something else in communication stores is not the inability to put it on the shelves, but the reluctance of buyers to purchase this product. In one of the conversations about 5 years ago with the owner of the retail chain, the phrase was heard: “You see, we can even sell washing powder. But it's ugly, and people for washing powder will go to the hardware store, and not to us. We must have goods that are close in spirit and understanding.”

The same Euroset has already tried to sell both tourist vouchers and airline tickets. Both directions were not very successful, as they required time, other qualifications of sellers. With minimal investment, these destinations do not provide Brand New Boots and high margins, they are expensive by time.

Why is TS Retail so convinced that they will do better than others? Do not know. I have not been able to find a rational answer to this. After all, all the explanations that the Tochka trademark will be clear and simple for the consumer, will clearly convey the values ​​of the brand and the like, are nothing more than intricate verbiage of consulting firms and marketing. To convey, you need to sell. And in Russia, while the majority of people, going to a cell phone store, expect to find there not Cheburashka, but cell phones and, possibly, related products. To paraphrase an old joke about a gun and a watch, we can say that when you come to Tochka, instead of the desired mobile phone, you can hear the answer: “Maybe you will go to Egypt to relax for the same money?” It sounds a little crazy, but what to do, that's the concept.

The project audience in TS Retail is described as two large communities of people at once:

  • Traditional people (I need persuasion and help...) Thrifty student, Traditional saleswoman, Solid employee. Again, discarding the husks of marketing phrases, it turns out that the company focuses on the mass market segment, that is, to some extent, on conservative buyers.
  • New Generation (I need inspiration and support...) Ambitious Manager, Active Gamer, Media Schoolgirl. On the contrary, this is the premium segment, as well as young people who are looking for a product, despite its cost, actively consume new items. The tastiest audience for any retail player.

Let's forgive the authors of the presentation for these inconceivable names, they really take your breath away sometimes. Another thing is that it is impossible to imagine an Ambitious manager and a Thrifty student actively and enthusiastically buying one thing. Well, at least crack, but in my picture of the world there are no department stores for all segments of the population. It seemed to me, but these are purely personal impressions, in the concept of "TS Retail" they crossed a grass snake with a hedgehog. There was a strategy that said that these are premium stores that support the appropriate impression of MTS and so on. But in the premium segment, you won’t be able to go far, in order to pay off the stores, mass sales are needed. It was to please them that “traditional people” appeared. Is it possible to bring opposites together at one point in space? It is possible that it is possible. But a couple of times a representative of the middle class will run into someone who imposes on him a ticket not to the mountains, but under the Egyptian sun, and that's it, the charm of the design of the point of sale is gone, the person goes to another place. The TS Retail strategy looks at least controversial, it did not find an intuitive understanding from a single person with whom I managed to discuss it during this time.

A big bet is made on the sale of convergent services, in the presentation a whole slide is devoted to them. For example, by issuing an IBBR credit card and using it to pay for a trip to Turkey with Intourist, you will receive a ticket for a child for free. Or, having bought a mobile phone and a tariff plan from MTS, you will receive headphones as a gift. With an annual contract with MTT, get a 50% discount on a Samsung DECT phone.

Such promotions are not new in ordinary networks, there is nothing unusual and attractive for the buyer. This is the norm of modern retail.

According to the representatives of the company, at the moment there are about 20 contracts with different companies at the stage of preparation. It will be Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sony, LG and a number of other companies. The commotion on the market was caused by the message that TS Retail plans to negotiate with Apple and is conducting them. Although it would be more correct to say that the negotiations were about special promotions and budgets, bypassing the Apple IMC. At the same time, it is Apple IMC that will supply goods to TS Retail stores, and the latter will not differ in any way from the current stores of other distributors working with Apple. The pricing policy for Apple products will be at the market level in Russia. It's just one of the items in the TS Retail cart.

In general, a diverse portfolio of products is a time bomb under the ideology of premium stores. We have already written about the not very popular destinations for tours to Turkey and Egypt among the middle class, but the sale of air tickets is also a mine laid by the company's management. When you see an advertisement that you can buy air tickets at the Tochka store, what do you think? That's right, it's a ticket in either direction. However, ticketing requires qualification, and this is not possible at every point. The solution is simple - to work with a company that sells not tickets, but prepaid flight cards, in Russia it is Sky Express, the first discounter. It looks as if you came to the Petrovsky Passage to buy yourself a seat in a second-class carriage to Norilsk. Having previously bought a couple of three suits right there, as well as ordering an expensive phone. The positioning of the service and the positioning of the store do not fit. They are directly opposite. Inconsistency. Just another inconsistency. But there are so many of them that I don’t even want to list them all.

Personnel decides everything or staff shortage

The staff of any TS Retail store must be at least 30 percent higher than that of ordinary communication stores. This dictates the need to sell not only technology in related areas, but also financial services and vouchers. Such a number of managers should have an extremely negative impact on the profitability of each point.

Personnel shortage is a characteristic phenomenon in the market in general and in the mobile retail market in particular. It would be possible to attract the best sellers to TS Retail with exorbitantly inflated salaries, but this does not happen, wages are at an average level, and only vacancies speak about this. Also, if you look at the list of required specialists, you get the impression that the company is almost completely understaffed. There are no people in key positions. You can see the full list here.

I will allow myself a wonderful excerpt from the proclamation why you need to go to work at TS Retail.

Company TS-Retail was founded at the end of 2006. The company was established to manage a new retail project, the development decision of which was taken by AFK Sistema, and is its subsidiary. The project involves the creation of a retail network of a new format. The network's existing stores offer communication service contracts for companies belonging to Sistema Telecom Holding, communication equipment and related products. In addition, the services of other companies included in the AFK, such as Intourist and MBRD Bank, are also presented. The project plans are very ambitious - 1000 operating stores by the end of 2007.

In the framework of the project, the brand and roses are of paramount importance

TS Retail - in search of unrestrained sex

It's not quite the usual headline for a material about the format of retail stores from TS Retail and the changes taking place in connection with this, but this is how the company itself sees its mission in the market. According to Sergey Fomenkov, General Director of TS Retail, today “the Russian market is at least 5 years behind grocery retail, it is a struggle for a buyer with the help of prices, assortment, but not service and quality of service.” In continuation of the story, Mr. Fomenkov expressively describes the employees of other networks: “The seller meets the buyer like a grumpy wife with a rolling pin - well, what are you looking for today? We don’t have any rolling pin in our hands, we will only have unrestrained sex.”

Let's take a look at the epic saga of the search for "unbridled sex" performed by TS Retail, but first we need to understand what was the reason that prompted AFK Sistema to create such a company.

Victim of circumstances or stepson of Sistema

In the case of MTS, the creation of its own retail network was a response to the activity of Beeline, as well as the first steps in this direction by Megafon. With the scope inherent in all undertakings of AFK Sistema, the retail network was created on a large scale and without regard to any experience. The main task was to make it better than everyone else, richer and more pleasant. The result of this approach resulted in the rapid growth of the network, as well as a complete disregard for the realities of the market. In order not to be unfounded, I will give the main reasons for the failure of retail from MTS as presented by Andrey Chukaev, director of the office sales and service department at MTS (at the end of 2006 - beginning of 2007).

  • Wrong location chosen (far from pedestrian traffic, duplication resulting in only 12% connections in offices).
  • Inappropriate format (office space not retail, combination of technical and retail spaces - visitors rarely become customers).
  • Large size (larger than required, 210 sqm vs. market average of 70 - this results in high transaction costs).
  • Suboptimal processes (does not meet retail requirements).

In December 2006, Mr. Chukaev spoke openly about the need to reorganize the retail network, presented options for its restructuring, and for the first time spoke about the potential for selling the services of various companies that are part of AFK Sistema through a single network of stores.

Within the framework of MTS, a lot of work is being done to change the formats of stores, bringing them to market realities. Suffice it to say that in 2006 a third of all stores were either closed or upgraded. For the format from MTS, this is very significant money, which does not look like a trifle for the operator and negatively affects its performance.

At the same time, MTS has always lacked an understanding of what a retail network is, and the main task was seen in the point of sale to increase the efficiency of communications with consumers, retain "heavy" subscribers, and perform service functions inherent in MTS offices. Probably, the phrase “supported the premium quality of the MTS brand” says it all. Not a single retail chain can become profitable under such conditions, it has no real benchmarks and indicators, and management is reduced to creating a mythical added value of the parent company, in this case the operator.

What happened in the end? For MTS, the maintenance of the “daughter” became unprofitable, and there was no real result. It was necessary to technically and calmly get rid of the retail burden, but retain full access to it. That is, to create conditions when you do not particularly pay for the pleasure of premium. The way out was found among the Sistema projects, which never reached the stage of mass implementation.

"Single point of access"

In May 2005, visitors to the Moscow SvyazExpocomm exhibition were waiting for the main event, the launch of i-mode by MTS, but other projects of AFK Sistema somehow remained in the shadows and were forgotten. However, at the opening of the exhibition, the first attempt to integrate the services of various companies under the name "Single Access Point" was rather pompously presented. In this project, it was assumed that the user would receive plastic cards of various denominations, with the help of which he would be able to pay for the services of all companies included in the holding. That is, a kind of universal means of payment, regardless of what services and from which "daughters" you use.

The prerequisite for the emergence of this project in 2005 was the desire to jointly promote various companies, provide a synergistic effect, but in many ways use the boom in sales of plastic payment cards. The release of single payment cards with a single design made it possible to save significantly in the long run, plus it advertised all companies at once. The disadvantages were the relatively high cost of integrating heterogeneous equipment in all companies to a single standard. But a undoubted plus in the end would be a single technical component of all companies, the possibility of conducting cross-marketing campaigns. For example, you actively use a phone from MTS, but you receive bonuses in the form of a free home phone from MGTS and without any applications and red tape. Sounds nice? Yes, but without a technical basis, this is practically impossible to implement. Difficulties of this kind put an end to the project, although it was promised to be launched by the end of 2005. The specialists working on the project at that time did not understand what political and technical difficulties they would face.

The result of this project was the collection cards of the "Single Access Point" issued for the exhibition, as well as the website www.all-sistel.ru/. It was promised to be closed at the end of the exhibition, but they forgot about it, it still works, although it has turned into a ghost of a former project.

But in 2006, the fallen banner was picked up by the management of MTS, because the idea was right. Having slightly modified this idea, the company decided that it would be interesting to sell all the services of "daughters" in one place. So the old project got a new life and used the original name.

LLC or OJSC - transformations along the way

The spin-off of MTS retail business into a separate company with 100% operator's capital happened in a very short time. The decision was made and it was implemented. In fact, there were no preparations, no reflections on this topic, the task was to reduce the burdens of low-income retail and its impact on MTS (EBITDA > 50%). The company was founded on December 26, 2006, and a number of comments directly state that the reason for the emergence of TS Retail is not economic, it is a technical move.

But at the time of creation, it was already said that there was no detailed plan for the development of the network, and other Sistema enterprises would be invited to participate in the project as partner-co-investors after the adoption of the strategy. At the same time, the PR service of MTS confidently declares that the basis for sales will be the services of the company, as well as the company's partners, that is, there will be no actual changes.

A paradoxical situation is created, which is so typical for Sistema: first, a decision is made, then it is implemented, and only then they begin to work out options for a development strategy, look for people for key positions (at all levels), in a word, carry out planned work. Does this seem unusual to you? But in fact, what was said at the end of 2006 becomes possible only after a year.

The company was registered as an LLC, but its creation was really technical. In fact, the company took over the management of MTS sales points, its website was registered in March 2007, but is still used only for mail, there is still no WWW site. Do you imagine that any of the retail players today can afford the absence of a website? It seems unlikely to me, not to mention the banal direct sales of equipment through the network.

But besides this, there are other problems that directly affect the company's business. Over the past year, TS Retail has not acquired direct contracts with equipment suppliers, in particular, the main product - mobile phones. If you visit an MTS point of sale, and then visit TS Retail, which is outwardly indistinguishable, you will be surprised by the difference in the goods on the shelves. The assortment of TS Retail is almost half as large, it looks poor. Mr. Fomenkov says that "the absence of direct contracts is not a problem, we can often buy cheaper on the secondary market, within the country." It may be true, but the assortment speaks for itself.

In any case, at the moment the registration of TS Retail OJSC will require the conclusion of all contracts for this organization, which also means the loss of some time. The technical moment plays an important role here.

Who will be the shareholders of TS Retail OJSC? MTS will receive 25 percent in the updated structure, while 5 other companies will receive 15 percent each, these are Comstar-OTS, Intourist, Sistema Mass Media, MBRD, and MTT.

The authorized capital of JSC "TS Retail" is 12 million dollars. In an interview with ComNews, Anton Abugov, First Vice President of AFK Sistema, said that the network would be developed using bank loans. “We have a joint program with MTS: we want to remove the costs of opening these stores from MTS.” It turns out that AFK initially follows the program to unload its main asset, which is MTS, as much as possible. At the same time, the capitalization of AFK's subsidiaries can grow due to such a split, with the right approach.

Retail plans - number of stores and investments

From year to year, TS Retail has very ambitious plans. By the end of 2007, the company had to open about 1,000 points of sale. If in the middle of the year the company was able to open no more than 2 outlets per week, by the end of the year this number increased to 10. At the moment, the company has 110 points of sale under the MTS brand (monobrand stores). At the same time, company representatives said that 10 stores would be opened in Moscow by the end of 2007, and another 40 in the regions. At the same time, there should be 250 mono-brand stores by the end of 2007. It turns out to be very entertaining mathematics, which you won’t understand without half a liter.

110 + 50 = 160 - does not add up.

Let's think that MTS will give its 400 remaining stores to the management of TS Retail OJSC.

110+50+400 = 560 – it turns out much more, plus there should be 250 mono-brand stores.

Is any company on the Russian market able to open 400-500 salons on its own within 2 months? The unequivocal answer is no. Everything rests not only on the premises, which are remembered in the first place, although the lack of space is very acute, everything also rests on the need to staff the point of sale with employees. We will talk about this separately, but for now I want to note that today TS Retail does not have enough of them for the existing network either.

So the company's plans look like a utopia? Not certainly in that way. For two years, persistent rumors have been circulating in the market that MTS plans to acquire one of the existing retail players. Negotiations of such a plan were indeed held periodically, but there were no results, since MTS did not understand the concept of their retail network and how they could return their investments. Recently, a wave of rumors has resumed, so, in the CNews material, it is stated, citing a source within the company, that Mr. Fomenkov is negotiating with Eldorado Mobile, as well as the Betalink network, on the possible acquisition of their points of sale.

A number of other companies can be added to this list, but this does not change things. In terms of a possible acquisition, the priority belongs to the Betalink network. Too converge various factors on this company. Judge for yourself. In Russia, only for Betalink, a mass rebranding of communication stores was launched, the concept was developed by the British company Fitch, which traditionally works with all the subsidiaries of AFK Sistema. For example, Fitch designers created Detsky Mir stores in a new format, they also had a hand in Single Access Point 2008. But, in my opinion, the priority of Betalink remained the same, fortunately, Mr. Fomenkov joked very harshly at the press breakfast about the concept of mobile salons with new products and the like. It is unlikely that he would do this about the network he plans to absorb.

There are no prerequisites for the sale of Eldorado Mobile, at the moment it is a very actively developing network, which looks like a favorite, squeezing old-formation companies out of the market. She may well claim third place, after Euroset and Svyaznoy.

Until the end of 2007, a clear answer from the representatives of the company about the magic number 1000 was not received. Such plans were made in the spring of 2007, but by the end of the summer they were replaced by cautious comments that this was not the main goal. According to TS Retail, positive EBITDA should be achieved in this business, which is the main objective of the project. AFK representatives have repeatedly stressed that existing retailers have zero EBITDA, and their task is to increase the margin and profitability of the business.

It turns out that the company "TS Retail" without buying someone will not be able to reach 1000 stores before the end of 2007. In principle, the game in the number of salons until the end of the reporting period has long been known among retail players. According to companies, this gives special value to the brand. For example, at the beginning of 2006, you say that you will have 2,000 points of sale in your network by the end of the year. The fact that there are only 400 of them at this moment shows your capabilities - finances, human reserves, and so on. At the end of the reporting period, you open at most 200 points of sale, but boldly build new Napoleonic plans. The majority have already forgotten about the old ones.

Does TS Retail play these games? In my opinion, definitely yes. In the absence of a sufficient number of employees, the company cannot expand dramatically, as the whole of 2006 showed. There are no growth reserves as such, and there are no market advantages, with the exception of access to “cheap” loans and financing from Sistema, either.

Until 2010 inclusive, the company plans to open 3,000 retail outlets (both monobrand MTS and under its own brand). The market leader, the Euroset company, today has a little less than 5000 points of sale, Svyaznoy - more than 1200. The same Svyaznoy plans to increase its own network to 2000-2400 points of sale over the same period of time. Why not more? The main problem is not opening points of sale, but maintaining the marginality of the business, which is impossible without a training program for salespeople, managers, in a word, personnel. Only by growing personnel, the company opens new points of sale, this process is interconnected. Opening just points of sale for the sake of quantity automatically leads to a deterioration in all financial indicators. Does TS Retail have an undeniable advantage in retail sales? According to the representatives of the company, this is a new retail store format invented by them.

Single Access Point 2008 Format

In order not to be confused with the names, let's take one of the working names as the main one, let it be "Single Access Point" or just a Hotspot. It is planned to introduce several innovations for the Russian market for the first time at Tochka. One of them is a self-service zone, in which the user can replenish his account, buy this or that service, in a word, relieve sales assistants in the store as much as possible. "What's new here?" – boldly ask you. The company believes that by opening round-the-clock access to this zone, they will be able to attract more customers. The format is exactly the same as in ATMs, only there the entrance is carried out with your magnetic card, here, apparently, it will be possible to enter without it. Such a self-service zone becomes possible through cooperation with the IBRD, the bank actually installs its own ATM and expands its network, this is a positive moment for it. In this aspect, perhaps, I am inclined to agree that the Point will outperform ordinary communication stores, they do not offer such a service. But the question arises in the demand for such a service at night. If it turns out to be noticeable, then copying from other retail players cannot be avoided.

The company is guided by the fact that for a comfortable purchase, two buyers should have at least 10 square meters of retail space. At the same time, the area of ​​salons will vary only in three sizes.

  • Kiosk is a store in a mall, a place with high capacity but no space or high cost. Not a priority, looks like a response to the need to cover large areas. The cost of opening this format ranges from 12 to 20 thousand US dollars. Area - about 10-15 square meters. meters.
  • Regular point of sale. The area of ​​such a salon is at least 50 sq.m., the location is within walking distance, that is, such points are not oriented towards those who drive up in cars, this is generally a key feature of the concept. The cost of opening is from 50,000 USD, while the salon area is 80-100 sq.m. will cost about 100.000 USD. From this we can derive a simple formula that for TS Retail the cost per square meter is about 1000 USD.
  • Flagship. Shops ranging from 150 to 300 square meters. They are mainly located in large cities, unlike ordinary stores, they have a demonstration area where it is planned to show new products and services, that is, to acquaint customers with how it works.

For a regular point of sale, the amount of product balances is not less than 100,000 US dollars. It is assumed that the operating margin of an individual point should be 8 percent.

Fitch was involved in developing the concept of Tochka's retail space. If anyone is interested in how this concept looks in practice, then you can see it on the example of the Betalink salon in Ramstore Capital, on Vernadsky Avenue in Moscow. Not only zonality coincides, but also the name of the corresponding zones, their purpose. There is only a self-service area at night.

So, you are greeted by a self-service zone, here you can pay the bills of any of the companies that are part of AFK Sistema, in the future, and a number of other companies. For example, today it may be the first SkyExpress air discounter.

From the self-service area, the visitor enters the quick purchase area (10-15 minutes), there are stands with equipment, including an open display of goods, primarily mobile phones. If in the first year the telecommunications direction becomes the main one for TS Retail, then in the future the company plans to focus on other products, reducing the share of phones from 50-60 percent in turnover.

From the very beginning, the company will offer music players, laptops, and other digital equipment. That is, this is a format reminiscent of that for Euroset, Svyaznoy, and other modern players. There is nothing new in this.

In the middle or end of 2008, the company plans to try to introduce pre-order goods, something akin to what is in McDonalds. You drive up in a car, a person with a terminal comes up to you even before the window and takes the order. You just have to drive up to pay and receive your purchase. It will also be possible to do the same in large Tochka stores, for example, after choosing a product, you will immediately receive a receipt for payment and go to the cashier. You do not need to pre-register the goods with a separate seller.

This option of payment and ordering goods is very interesting, but it will be used only in one case: if there are a lot of visitors and buyers at the Point. If this does not happen, then there will be no need for this.

The last zone refers to the slow purchase (45-60 minutes), here they will issue insurance, loans, issue credit cards, trips to other countries, perhaps something else. For convenience, sofas are provided, as well as a coffee machine.

To be honest, in such zoning there is practically no know-how, everything is ordinary, another thing is what and to whom they are trying to sell at TS Retail, there are a lot of unusual things.

Audience portrait and product list

Willingly or unwittingly, but the company's representatives all the time emphasize the peculiarity of the TS Retail store format. Mr. Fomenkov says that it is impossible to call their stores with the word “salon”, this is something else. Tochka stores are designed to satisfy the basic need of a modern person, namely to eliminate the lack of time. That is the only reason why goods from various companies are collected under one roof, here you can find both financial services from the MBBR, and trips to Turkey or Egypt, air tickets, as well as goods traditional for communication stores (phones, laptops, mp3).

In fact, it turns out that, when you go to pay for communication services, you suddenly and impulsively take a loan for a trip to Egypt, and then buy something else. It looks at least strange.

The main problem in trying to sell something else in communication stores is not the inability to put it on the shelves, but the reluctance of buyers to purchase this product. In one of the conversations about 5 years ago with the owner of the retail chain, the phrase was heard: “You see, we can even sell washing powder. But it's ugly, and people for washing powder will go to the hardware store, and not to us. We must have goods that are close in spirit and understanding.”

The same Euroset has already tried to sell both tourist vouchers and airline tickets. Both directions were not very successful, as they required time, other qualifications of sellers. With minimal investment, these destinations do not provide Brand New Boots and high margins, they are expensive by time.

Why are TS Retail so convinced that they will do better than others? Do not know. I have not been able to find a rational answer to this. After all, all the explanations that the Tochka trademark will be clear and simple for the consumer, will clearly convey the values ​​of the brand and the like, are nothing more than intricate verbiage of consulting firms and marketing. To convey, you need to sell. And in Russia, while most people, going to a cell phone store, expect to find there not Cheburashka, but cell phones and, possibly, related products. To paraphrase an old joke about a gun and a watch, we can say that when you come to Tochka, instead of the desired mobile phone, you can hear the answer: “Maybe you will go to Egypt to relax for the same money?” It sounds a little crazy, but what to do, that's the concept.

The audience of the project in TS Retail is described as two large communities of people at once:

  • Traditional people (I need persuasion and help...) Thrifty student, Traditional saleswoman, Solid employee. Again, discarding the husks of marketing phrases, it turns out that the company focuses on the mass market segment, that is, to some extent, on conservative buyers.
  • New Generation (I need inspiration and support...) Ambitious Manager, Active Gamer, Media Schoolgirl. On the contrary, this is the premium segment, as well as young people who are looking for a product, despite its cost, actively consume new items. The tastiest audience for any retail player.

Let's forgive the authors of the presentation for these inconceivable names, they really take your breath away sometimes. Another thing is that it is impossible to imagine an Ambitious manager and a Thrifty student actively and enthusiastically buying one thing. Well, at least crack, but in my picture of the world there are no department stores for all segments of the population. It seemed to me, but these are purely personal impressions, in the concept of "TS Retail" they crossed a grass snake with a hedgehog. There was a strategy that said that these are premium stores that support the appropriate impression of MTS and so on. But in the premium segment, you won’t be able to go far, in order to pay off the stores, mass sales are needed. It was to please them that “traditional people” appeared. Is it possible to bring opposites together at one point in space? It is possible that it is possible. But a couple of times a representative of the middle class will run into someone who imposes on him a ticket not to the mountains, but under the Egyptian sun, and that's it, the charm of the design of the point of sale is gone, the person goes to another place. The TS Retail strategy looks at least controversial, it did not find an intuitive understanding from a single person with whom I managed to discuss it during this time.

A big bet is placed on the sale of convergent services, in the presentation a whole slide is devoted to them. For example, by issuing an MBBR credit card and using it to pay for a trip to Turkey with Intourist, you will receive a ticket for a child for free. Or, having bought a mobile phone and a tariff plan from MTS, you will receive headphones as a gift. With an annual contract with MTT, get a 50% discount on a Samsung DECT phone.

Such promotions are not new in ordinary networks, there is nothing unusual and attractive for the buyer. This is the norm of modern retail.

According to the representatives of the company, about 20 contracts with different companies are currently at the stage of preparation. It will be Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sony, LG and a number of other companies. The commotion in the market was caused by the message that TS Retail plans to negotiate with Apple and is conducting them. Although it would be more correct to say that the negotiations were about special promotions and budgets, bypassing the Apple IMC. At the same time, it is Apple IMC that will supply goods to TS Retail stores, and the latter will not differ in any way from the current stores of other distributors working with Apple. The pricing policy for Apple products will be at the market level in Russia. It's just one of the items in the TS Retail cart.

Personnel decides everything or staff shortage

The staff of any TS Retail store must be at least 30 percent higher than that of ordinary communication stores. This dictates the need to sell not only technology in related areas, but also financial services and vouchers. Such a number of managers should have an extremely negative impact on the profitability of each point.

Personnel shortage is a characteristic phenomenon in the market in general and in the mobile retail market in particular. It would be possible to attract the best sellers to TS Retail with exorbitantly inflated salaries, but this does not happen, wages are at an average level, and only vacancies speak about this. Also, if you look at the list of required specialists, you get the impression that the company is almost completely understaffed. There are no people in key positions. You can see the full list here.

I will allow myself a wonderful excerpt from the proclamation why you need to go to work at TS Retail.

Company TS-Retail was founded at the end of 2006. The company was established to manage a new retail project, the development decision of which was taken by AFK Sistema, and is its subsidiary. The project involves the creation of a retail network of a new format. The network's existing stores offer communication service contracts for companies belonging to Sistema Telecom Holding, communication equipment and related products. In addition, the services of other companies included in the AFK, such as Intourist and MBRD Bank, are also presented. The project plans are very ambitious - 1000 operating stores by the end of 2007.

In the framework of the project, the brand and roses are of paramount importance

TS Retail - in search of unrestrained sex

It's not quite the usual headline for a material about the format of retail stores from TS Retail and the changes taking place in connection with this, but this is how the company itself sees its mission in the market. According to Sergey Fomenkov, General Director of TS Retail, today “the Russian market is at least 5 years behind grocery retail, it is a struggle for a buyer with the help of prices, assortment, but not service and quality of service.” In continuation of the story, Mr. Fomenkov expressively describes the employees of other networks: “The seller meets the buyer like a grumpy wife with a rolling pin - well, what are you looking for today? We don’t have any rolling pin in our hands, we will only have unrestrained sex.”

Let's take a look at the epic saga of the search for "unbridled sex" performed by TS Retail, but first we need to understand what was the reason that prompted AFK Sistema to create such a company.

Victim of circumstances or stepson of Sistema

In the case of MTS, the creation of its own retail network was a response to the activity of Beeline, as well as the first steps in this direction by Megafon. With the scope inherent in all undertakings of AFK Sistema, the retail network was created on a large scale and without regard to any experience. The main task was to make it better than everyone else, richer and more pleasant. The result of this approach resulted in the rapid growth of the network, as well as a complete disregard for the realities of the market. In order not to be unfounded, I will give the main reasons for the failure of retail from MTS as presented by Andrey Chukaev, director of the office sales and service department at MTS (at the end of 2006 - beginning of 2007).

  • Wrong location chosen (far from pedestrian traffic, duplication resulting in only 12% connections in offices).
  • Inappropriate format (office space not retail, combination of technical and retail spaces - visitors rarely become customers).
  • Large size (larger than required, 210 sqm vs. market average of 70 - this results in high transaction costs).
  • Suboptimal processes (does not meet retail requirements).

In December 2006, Mr. Chukaev spoke openly about the need to reorganize the retail network, presented options for its restructuring, and for the first time spoke about the potential for selling the services of various companies that are part of AFK Sistema through a single network of stores.

Within the framework of MTS, a lot of work is being done to change the formats of stores, bringing them to market realities. Suffice it to say that in 2006 a third of all stores were either closed or upgraded. For the format from MTS, this is very significant money, which does not look like a trifle for the operator and negatively affects its performance.

At the same time, MTS has always lacked an understanding of what a retail network is, and the main task was seen in the point of sale to increase the efficiency of communications with consumers, retain "heavy" subscribers, and perform service functions inherent in MTS offices. Probably, the phrase “supported the premium quality of the MTS brand” says it all. Not a single retail chain can become profitable under such conditions, it has no real benchmarks and indicators, and management is reduced to creating a mythical added value of the parent company, in this case the operator.

What happened in the end? For MTS, the maintenance of the “daughter” became unprofitable, and there was no real result. It was necessary to technically and calmly get rid of the retail burden, but retain full access to it. That is, to create conditions when you do not particularly pay for the pleasure of premium. The way out was found among the Sistema projects, which never reached the stage of mass implementation.

"Single point of access"

In May 2005, visitors to the Moscow SvyazExpocomm exhibition were waiting for the main event, the launch of i-mode by MTS, but other projects of AFK Sistema somehow remained in the shadows and were forgotten. However, at the opening of the exhibition, the first attempt to integrate the services of various companies under the name "Single Access Point" was rather pompously presented. In this project, it was assumed that the user would receive plastic cards of various denominations, with the help of which he would be able to pay for the services of all companies included in the holding. That is, a kind of universal means of payment, regardless of what services and from which "daughters" you use.

The prerequisite for the emergence of this project in 2005 was the desire to jointly promote various companies, provide a synergistic effect, but in many ways use the boom in sales of plastic payment cards. The release of single payment cards with a single design made it possible to save significantly in the long run, plus it advertised all companies at once. The disadvantages were the relatively high cost of integrating heterogeneous equipment in all companies to a single standard. But a undoubted plus in the end would be a single technical component of all companies, the possibility of conducting cross-marketing campaigns. For example, you actively use a phone from MTS, but you receive bonuses in the form of a free home phone from MGTS and without any applications and red tape. Sounds nice? Yes, but without a technical basis, this is practically impossible to implement. Difficulties of this kind put an end to the project, although it was promised to be launched by the end of 2005. The specialists working on the project at that time did not understand what political and technical difficulties they would face.

The result of this project was the collection cards of the "Single Access Point" issued for the exhibition, as well as the website www.all-sistel.ru/. It was promised to be closed at the end of the exhibition, but they forgot about it, it still works, although it has turned into a ghost of a former project.

But in 2006, the fallen banner was picked up by the management of MTS, because the idea was right. Having slightly modified this idea, the company decided that it would be interesting to sell all the services of "daughters" in one place. So the old project got a new life and used the original name.

LLC or OJSC - transformations along the way

The spin-off of MTS retail business into a separate company with 100% operator's capital happened in a very short time. The decision was made and it was implemented. In fact, there were no preparations, no reflections on this topic, the task was to reduce the burdens of low-income retail and its impact on MTS (EBITDA > 50%). The company was founded on December 26, 2006, and a number of comments directly state that the reason for the emergence of TS Retail is not economic, it is a technical move.

But at the time of creation, it was already said that there was no detailed plan for the development of the network, and other Sistema enterprises would be invited to participate in the project as partner-co-investors after the adoption of the strategy. At the same time, the PR service of MTS confidently declares that the basis for sales will be the services of the company, as well as the company's partners, that is, there will be no actual changes.

A paradoxical situation is created, which is so typical for Sistema: first, a decision is made, then it is implemented, and only then they begin to work out options for a development strategy, look for people for key positions (at all levels), in a word, carry out planned work. Does this seem unusual to you? But in fact, what was said at the end of 2006 becomes possible only after a year.

The company was registered as an LLC, but its creation was really technical. In fact, the company took over the management of MTS sales points, its website was registered in March 2007, but is still used only for mail, there is still no WWW site. Do you imagine that any of the retail players today can afford the absence of a website? It seems unlikely to me, not to mention the banal direct sales of equipment through the network.

But besides this, there are other problems that directly affect the company's business. Over the past year, TS Retail has not acquired direct contracts with equipment suppliers, in particular, the main product - mobile phones. If you visit an MTS point of sale, and then visit TS Retail, which is outwardly indistinguishable, you will be surprised by the difference in the goods on the shelves. The assortment of TS Retail is almost half as large, it looks poor. Mr. Fomenkov says that "the absence of direct contracts is not a problem, we can often buy cheaper on the secondary market, within the country." It may be true, but the assortment speaks for itself.

In any case, at the moment the registration of TS Retail OJSC will require the conclusion of all contracts for this organization, which also means the loss of some time. The technical moment plays an important role here.

Who will be the shareholders of TS Retail OJSC? MTS will receive 25 percent in the updated structure, while 5 other companies will receive 15 percent each, these are Comstar-OTS, Intourist, Sistema Mass Media, MBRD, and MTT.

The authorized capital of JSC "TS Retail" is 12 million dollars. In an interview with ComNews, Anton Abugov, First Vice President of AFK Sistema, said that the network would be developed using bank loans. “We have a joint program with MTS: we want to remove the costs of opening these stores from MTS.” It turns out that AFK initially follows the program to unload its main asset, which is MTS, as much as possible. At the same time, the capitalization of AFK's subsidiaries can grow due to such a split, with the right approach.

Retail plans - number of stores and investments

From year to year, TS Retail has very ambitious plans. By the end of 2007, the company had to open about 1,000 points of sale. If in the middle of the year the company was able to open no more than 2 outlets per week, by the end of the year this number increased to 10. At the moment, the company has 110 points of sale under the MTS brand (monobrand stores). At the same time, company representatives said that 10 stores would be opened in Moscow by the end of 2007, and another 40 in the regions. At the same time, there should be 250 mono-brand stores by the end of 2007. It turns out to be very entertaining mathematics, which you won’t understand without half a liter.

110 + 50 = 160 - does not add up.

Let's think that MTS will give its 400 remaining stores to the management of TS Retail OJSC.

110+50+400 = 560 – it turns out much more, plus there should be 250 mono-brand stores.

Is any company on the Russian market able to open 400-500 salons on its own within 2 months? The unequivocal answer is no. Everything rests not only on the premises, which are remembered in the first place, although the lack of space is very acute, everything also rests on the need to staff the point of sale with employees. We will talk about this separately, but for now I want to note that today TS Retail does not have enough of them for the existing network either.

So the company's plans look like a utopia? Not certainly in that way. For two years, persistent rumors have been circulating in the market that MTS plans to acquire one of the existing retail players. Negotiations of such a plan were indeed held periodically, but there were no results, since MTS did not understand the concept of their retail network and how they could return their investments. Recently, a wave of rumors has resumed, so, in the CNews material, it is stated, citing a source within the company, that Mr. Fomenkov is negotiating with Eldorado Mobile, as well as the Betalink network, on the possible acquisition of their points of sale.

A number of other companies can be added to this list, but this does not change things. In terms of a possible acquisition, the priority belongs to the Betalink network. Too converge various factors on this company. Judge for yourself. In Russia, only for Betalink, a mass rebranding of communication stores was launched, the concept was developed by the British company Fitch, which traditionally works with all the subsidiaries of AFK Sistema. For example, Fitch designers created Detsky Mir stores in a new format, they also had a hand in Single Access Point 2008. But, in my opinion, the priority of Betalink remained the same, fortunately, Mr. Fomenkov joked very harshly at the press breakfast about the concept of mobile salons with new products and the like. It is unlikely that he would do this about the network he plans to absorb.

There are no prerequisites for the sale of Eldorado Mobile, at the moment it is a very actively developing network, which looks like a favorite, squeezing old-formation companies out of the market. She may well claim third place, after Euroset and Svyaznoy.

Until the end of 2007, a clear answer from the representatives of the company about the magic number 1000 was not received. Such plans were made in the spring of 2007, but by the end of the summer they were replaced by cautious comments that this was not the main goal. According to TS Retail, positive EBITDA should be achieved in this business, which is the main objective of the project. AFK representatives have repeatedly stressed that existing retailers have zero EBITDA, and their task is to increase the margin and profitability of the business.

It turns out that the company "TS Retail" without buying someone will not be able to reach 1000 stores before the end of 2007. In principle, the game in the number of salons until the end of the reporting period has long been known among retail players. According to companies, this gives special value to the brand. For example, at the beginning of 2006, you say that you will have 2,000 points of sale in your network by the end of the year. The fact that there are only 400 of them at the moment shows your capabilities - finances, human reserves, and so on. At the end of the reporting period, you open at most 200 points of sale, but boldly build new Napoleonic plans. The majority have already forgotten about the old ones.

Does TS Retail play these games? In my opinion, definitely yes. In the absence of a sufficient number of employees, the company cannot expand dramatically, as the whole of 2006 showed. There are no growth reserves as such, and there are no market advantages, with the exception of access to “cheap” loans and financing from Sistema, either.

Until 2010 inclusive, the company plans to open 3,000 retail outlets (both monobrand MTS and under its own brand). The market leader, the Euroset company, today has a little less than 5000 points of sale, Svyaznoy - more than 1200. The same Svyaznoy plans to increase its own network to 2000-2400 points of sale over the same period of time. Why not more? The main problem is not opening points of sale, but maintaining the marginality of the business, which is impossible without a training program for salespeople, managers, in a word, personnel. Only by growing personnel, the company opens new points of sale, this process is interconnected. Opening just points of sale for the sake of quantity automatically leads to a deterioration in all financial indicators. Does TS Retail have an undeniable advantage in retail sales? According to the representatives of the company, this is a new retail store format invented by them.

Single Access Point 2008 Format

In order not to be confused with the names, let's take one of the working names as the main one, let it be "Single Access Point" or just a Hotspot. It is planned to introduce several innovations for the Russian market for the first time at Tochka. One of them is a self-service zone, in which the user can replenish his account, buy this or that service, in a word, relieve sales assistants in the store as much as possible. "What's new here?" – boldly ask you. The company believes that by opening round-the-clock access to this zone, they will be able to attract more customers. The format is exactly the same as in ATMs, only there the entrance is carried out with your magnetic card, here, apparently, it will be possible to enter without it. Such a self-service zone becomes possible through cooperation with the IBRD, the bank actually installs its own ATM and expands its network, this is a positive moment for it. In this aspect, perhaps, I am inclined to agree that the Point will outperform ordinary communication stores, they do not offer such a service. But the question arises in the demand for such a service at night. If it turns out to be noticeable, then copying from other retail players cannot be avoided.

The company is guided by the fact that for a comfortable purchase, two buyers should have at least 10 square meters of retail space. At the same time, the area of ​​salons will vary only in three sizes.

  • Kiosk is a store in a mall, a place with high capacity but no space or high cost. Not a priority, looks like a response to the need to cover large areas. The cost of opening this format ranges from 12 to 20 thousand US dollars. Area - about 10-15 square meters. meters.
  • Regular point of sale. The area of ​​such a salon is at least 50 sq.m., the location is within walking distance, that is, such points are not oriented towards those who drive up in cars, this is generally a key feature of the concept. The cost of opening is from 50,000 USD, while the salon area is 80-100 sq.m. will cost about 100.000 USD. From this we can derive a simple formula that for TS Retail the cost per square meter is about 1000 USD.
  • Flagship. Shops ranging from 150 to 300 square meters. They are mainly located in large cities, unlike ordinary stores, they have a demonstration area where it is planned to show new products and services, that is, to acquaint customers with how it works.

For a regular point of sale, the amount of product balances is not less than 100,000 US dollars. It is assumed that the operating margin of an individual point should be 8 percent.

Fitch was involved in developing the concept of Tochka's retail space. If anyone is interested in how this concept looks in practice, then you can see it on the example of the Betalink salon in Ramstore Capital, on Vernadsky Avenue in Moscow. Not only zonality coincides, but also the name of the corresponding zones, their purpose. There is only a self-service area at night.

So, you are greeted by a self-service zone, here you can pay the bills of any of the companies that are part of AFK Sistema, in the future, and a number of other companies. For example, today it may be the first SkyExpress air discounter.

From the self-service area, the visitor enters the quick purchase area (10-15 minutes), there are stands with equipment, including an open display of goods, primarily mobile phones. If in the first year the telecommunications direction becomes the main one for TS Retail, then in the future the company plans to focus on other products, reducing the share of phones from 50-60 percent in turnover.

From the very beginning, the company will offer music players, laptops, and other digital equipment. That is, this is a format reminiscent of that for Euroset, Svyaznoy, and other modern players. There is nothing new in this.

In the middle or end of 2008, the company plans to try to introduce pre-order goods, something akin to what is in McDonalds. You drive up in a car, a person with a terminal comes up to you even before the window and takes the order. You just have to drive up to pay and receive your purchase. It will also be possible to do the same in large Tochka stores, for example, after choosing a product, you will immediately receive a receipt for payment and go to the cashier. You do not need to pre-register the goods with a separate seller.

This option of payment and ordering goods is very interesting, but it will be used only in one case: if there are a lot of visitors and buyers at the Point. If this does not happen, then there will be no need for this.

The last zone refers to the slow purchase (45-60 minutes), here they will issue insurance, loans, issue credit cards, trips to other countries, perhaps something else. For convenience, sofas are provided, as well as a coffee machine.

To be honest, in such zoning there is practically no know-how, everything is ordinary, another thing is what and to whom they are trying to sell at TS Retail, there are a lot of unusual things.

Audience portrait and product list

Willingly or unwittingly, but the company's representatives all the time emphasize the peculiarity of the TS Retail store format. Mr. Fomenkov says that it is impossible to call their stores with the word “salon”, this is something else. Tochka stores are designed to satisfy the basic need of a modern person, namely to eliminate the lack of time. That is the only reason why goods from various companies are collected under one roof, here you can find both financial services from the MBBR, and trips to Turkey or Egypt, air tickets, as well as goods traditional for communication stores (phones, laptops, mp3).

In fact, it turns out that, when you go to pay for communication services, you suddenly and impulsively take a loan for a trip to Egypt, and then buy something else. It looks at least strange.

The main problem in trying to sell something else in communication stores is not the inability to put it on the shelves, but the reluctance of buyers to purchase this product. In one of the conversations about 5 years ago with the owner of the retail chain, the phrase was heard: “You see, we can even sell washing powder. But it's ugly, and people for washing powder will go to the hardware store, and not to us. We must have goods that are close in spirit and understanding.”

The same Euroset has already tried to sell both tourist vouchers and airline tickets. Both directions were not very successful, as they required time, other qualifications of sellers. With minimal investment, these destinations do not provide Brand New Boots and high margins, they are expensive by time.

Why is TS Retail so convinced that they will do better than others? Do not know. I have not been able to find a rational answer to this. After all, all the explanations that the Tochka trademark will be clear and simple for the consumer, will clearly convey the values ​​of the brand and the like, are nothing more than intricate verbiage of consulting firms and marketing. To convey, you need to sell. And in Russia, while the majority of people, going to a cell phone store, expect to find there not Cheburashka, but cell phones and, possibly, related products. To paraphrase an old joke about a gun and a watch, we can say that when you come to Tochka, instead of the desired mobile phone, you can hear the answer: “Maybe you will go to Egypt to relax for the same money?” It sounds a little crazy, but what to do, that's the concept.

The project audience in TS Retail is described as two large communities of people at once:

  • Traditional people (I need persuasion and help...) Thrifty student, Traditional saleswoman, Solid employee. Again, discarding the husks of marketing phrases, it turns out that the company focuses on the mass market segment, that is, to some extent, on conservative buyers.
  • New Generation (I need inspiration and support...) Ambitious Manager, Active Gamer, Media Schoolgirl. On the contrary, this is the premium segment, as well as young people who are looking for a product, despite its cost, actively consume new items. The tastiest audience for any retail player.

Let's forgive the authors of the presentation for these inconceivable names, they really take your breath away sometimes. Another thing is that it is impossible to imagine an Ambitious manager and a Thrifty student actively and enthusiastically buying one thing. Well, at least crack, but in my picture of the world there are no department stores for all segments of the population. It seemed to me, but these are purely personal impressions, in the concept of "TS Retail" they crossed a grass snake with a hedgehog. There was a strategy that said that these are premium stores that support the appropriate impression of MTS and so on. But in the premium segment, you won’t be able to go far, in order to pay off the stores, mass sales are needed. It was to please them that “traditional people” appeared. Is it possible to bring opposites together at one point in space? It is possible that it is possible. But a couple of times a representative of the middle class will run into someone who imposes on him a ticket not to the mountains, but under the Egyptian sun, and that's it, the charm of the design of the point of sale is gone, the person goes to another place. The TS Retail strategy looks at least controversial, it did not find an intuitive understanding from a single person with whom I managed to discuss it during this time.

A big bet is made on the sale of convergent services, in the presentation a whole slide is devoted to them. For example, by issuing an IBBR credit card and using it to pay for a trip to Turkey with Intourist, you will receive a ticket for a child for free. Or, having bought a mobile phone and a tariff plan from MTS, you will receive headphones as a gift. With an annual contract with MTT, get a 50% discount on a Samsung DECT phone.

Such promotions are not new in ordinary networks, there is nothing unusual and attractive for the buyer. This is the norm of modern retail.

According to the representatives of the company, at the moment there are about 20 contracts with different companies at the stage of preparation. It will be Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sony, LG and a number of other companies. The commotion on the market was caused by the message that TS Retail plans to negotiate with Apple and is conducting them. Although it would be more correct to say that the negotiations were about special promotions and budgets, bypassing the Apple IMC. At the same time, it is Apple IMC that will supply goods to TS Retail stores, and the latter will not differ in any way from the current stores of other distributors working with Apple. The pricing policy for Apple products will be at the market level in Russia. It's just one of the items in the TS Retail cart.

In general, a diverse portfolio of products is a time bomb under the ideology of premium stores. We have already written about the not very popular destinations for tours to Turkey and Egypt among the middle class, but the sale of air tickets is also a mine laid by the company's management. When you see an advertisement that you can buy air tickets at the Tochka store, what do you think? That's right, it's a ticket in either direction. However, ticketing requires qualification, and this is not possible at every point. The solution is simple - to work with a company that sells not tickets, but prepaid flight cards, in Russia it is Sky Express, the first discounter. It looks like you came to the Petrovsky Passage to buy yourself a seat in a second-class carriage to Norilsk. Having previously bought a couple of three suits right there, as well as ordering an expensive phone. The positioning of the service and the positioning of the store do not fit. They are directly opposite. Inconsistency. Just another inconsistency. But there are so many of them that I don’t even want to list them all.

Personnel decides everything or staff shortage

The staff of any TS Retail store must be at least 30 percent higher than that of ordinary communication stores. This dictates the need to sell not only technology in related areas, but also financial services and vouchers. Such a number of managers should have an extremely negative impact on the profitability of each point.

Personnel shortage is a characteristic phenomenon in the market in general and in the mobile retail market in particular. It would be possible to attract the best sellers to TS Retail with exorbitantly inflated salaries, but this does not happen, wages are at an average level, and only vacancies speak about this. Also, if you look at the list of required specialists, you get the impression that the company is almost completely understaffed. There are no people in key positions. You can see the full list here.

I will allow myself a wonderful excerpt from the proclamation why you need to go to work at TS Retail.

Company TS-Retail was founded at the end of 2006. The company was established to manage a new retail project, the development decision of which was taken by AFK Sistema, and is its subsidiary. The project involves the creation of a retail network of a new format. The network's existing stores offer communication service contracts for companies belonging to Sistema Telecom Holding, communication equipment and related products. In addition, the services of other companies included in the AFK, such as Intourist and MBRD Bank, are also presented. The project plans are very ambitious - 1000 operating stores by the end of 2007.

In the framework of the project, the brand and roses are of paramount importance

TS Retail - in search of unrestrained sex

It's not quite the usual headline for a material about the format of retail stores from TS Retail and the changes taking place in connection with this, but this is how the company itself sees its mission in the market. According to Sergey Fomenkov, General Director of TS Retail, today “the Russian market is at least 5 years behind grocery retail, it is a struggle for a buyer with the help of prices, assortment, but not service and quality of service.” In continuation of the story, Mr. Fomenkov expressively describes the employees of other networks: “The seller meets the buyer like a grumpy wife with a rolling pin - well, what are you looking for today? We don’t have any rolling pin in our hands, we will only have unrestrained sex.”

Let's take a look at the epic saga of the search for "unbridled sex" performed by TS Retail, but first we need to understand what was the reason that prompted AFK Sistema to create such a company.

Victim of circumstances or stepson of Sistema

In the case of MTS, the creation of its own retail network was a response to the activity of Beeline, as well as the first steps in this direction by Megafon. With the scope inherent in all undertakings of AFK Sistema, the retail network was created on a large scale and without regard to any experience. The main task was to make it better than everyone else, richer and more pleasant. The result of this approach resulted in the rapid growth of the network, as well as a complete disregard for the realities of the market. In order not to be unfounded, I will give the main reasons for the failure of retail from MTS as presented by Andrey Chukaev, director of the office sales and service department at MTS (at the end of 2006 - beginning of 2007).

  • Incorrectly chosen location (far from pedestrian traffic, duplication, as a result - only 12% of connections in offices).
  • Inappropriate format (office space not retail, combination of technical and retail space - visitors rarely become customers).
  • Large size (larger than required, 210 sq. meters vs. 70 sq. meters in the market - this leads to high transaction costs).
  • Suboptimal processes (does not meet retail requirements).

What happened in the end? For MTS, the maintenance of the “daughter” became unprofitable, and there was no real result. It was necessary to technically and calmly get rid of the retail burden, but retain full access to it. That is, to create conditions when you do not particularly pay for the pleasure of premium. The way out was found among the Sistema projects, which never reached the stage of mass implementation.

"Single point of access"

In May 2005, visitors to the Moscow SvyazExpocomm exhibition were waiting for the main event, the launch of i-mode by MTS, but other projects of AFK Sistema somehow remained in the shadows and were forgotten. However, at the opening of the exhibition, the first attempt to integrate the services of various companies under the name "Single Access Point" was rather pompously presented. In this project, it was assumed that the user would receive plastic cards of various denominations, with the help of which he would be able to pay for the services of all companies included in the holding. That is, a kind of universal means of payment, regardless of what services and from which "daughters" you use.

The prerequisite for the emergence of this project in 2005 was the desire to jointly promote various companies, provide a synergistic effect, but in many ways use the boom in sales of plastic payment cards. The release of single payment cards with a single design made it possible to save significantly in the long run, plus it advertised all companies at once. The disadvantages were the relatively high cost of integrating heterogeneous equipment in all companies to a single standard. But a undoubted plus in the end would be a single technical component of all companies, the possibility of conducting cross-marketing campaigns. For example, you actively use a phone from MTS, but you receive bonuses in the form of a free home phone from MGTS and without any applications and red tape. Sounds nice? Yes, but without a technical basis, this is practically impossible to implement. Difficulties of this kind put an end to the project, although it was promised to be launched by the end of 2005. The specialists working on the project at that time did not understand what political and technical difficulties they would face.

The result of this project was the collection cards of the "Single Access Point" issued for the exhibition, as well as the website www.all-sistel.ru/. It was promised to be closed at the end of the exhibition, but they forgot about it, it still works, although it has turned into a ghost of a former project.

But in 2006, the fallen banner was picked up by the management of MTS, because the idea was right. Having slightly modified this idea, the company decided that it would be interesting to sell all the services of "daughters" in one place. So the old project got a new life and used the original name.

LLC or OJSC - transformations along the way

The spin-off of MTS retail business into a separate company with 100% operator's capital happened in a very short time. The decision was made and it was implemented. In fact, there were no preparations, no reflections on this topic, the task was to reduce the burdens of low-income retail and its impact on MTS (EBITDA > 50%). The company was founded on December 26, 2006, and a number of comments directly state that the reason for the emergence of TS Retail is not economic, it is a technical move.

But at the time of creation, it was already said that there was no detailed plan for the development of the network, and other Sistema enterprises would be invited to participate in the project as partner-co-investors after the adoption of the strategy. At the same time, the PR service of MTS confidently declares that the basis for sales will be the services of the company, as well as the company's partners, that is, there will be no actual changes.

A paradoxical situation is created, which is so typical for Sistema: first, a decision is made, then it is implemented, and only then they begin to work out options for a development strategy, look for people for key positions (at all levels), in a word, carry out planned work. Does this seem unusual to you? But in fact, what was said at the end of 2006 becomes possible only after a year.

The company was registered as an LLC, but its creation was really technical. In fact, the company took over the management of MTS sales points, its website was registered in March 2007, but is still used only for mail, there is still no WWW site. Do you imagine that any of the retail players today can afford the absence of a website? It seems unlikely to me, not to mention the banal direct sales of equipment through the network.

The authorized capital of JSC "TS Retail" is 12 million dollars. In an interview with ComNews, Anton Abugov, First Vice President of AFK Sistema, said that the network would be developed using bank loans. “We have a joint program with MTS: we want to remove the costs of opening these stores from MTS.” It turns out that AFK initially follows the program to unload its main asset, which is MTS, as much as possible. At the same time, the capitalization of AFK's subsidiaries can grow due to such a split, with the right approach.

Retail plans - number of stores and investments

From year to year, TS Retail has very ambitious plans. By the end of 2007, the company had to open about 1,000 points of sale. If in the middle of the year the company was able to open no more than 2 outlets per week, by the end of the year this number increased to 10. At the moment, the company has 110 points of sale under the MTS brand (monobrand stores). At the same time, company representatives said that 10 stores would be opened in Moscow by the end of 2007, and another 40 in the regions. At the same time, there should be 250 mono-brand stores by the end of 2007. It turns out to be very entertaining mathematics, which you won’t understand without half a liter.

110 + 50 = 160 - does not add up.

Let's think that MTS will give its 400 remaining stores to the management of TS Retail OJSC.

110+50+400 = 560 - it turns out much more, plus there should be 250 mono-brand stores.

Is any company on the Russian market able to open 400-500 salons on its own within 2 months? The unequivocal answer is no. Everything rests not only on the premises, which are remembered in the first place, although the lack of space is very acute, everything also rests on the need to staff the point of sale with employees. We will talk about this separately, but for now I want to note that today TS Retail does not have enough of them for the existing network either.

So the company's plans look like a utopia? Not certainly in that way. For two years, persistent rumors have been circulating in the market that MTS plans to acquire one of the existing retail players. Negotiations of such a plan were indeed held periodically, but there were no results, since MTS did not understand the concept of their retail network and how they could return their investments. Recently, a wave of rumors has resumed, so, in the CNews material, it is stated, citing a source within the company, that Mr. Fomenkov is negotiating with Eldorado Mobile, as well as the Betalink network, on the possible acquisition of their points of sale.

A number of other companies can be added to this list, but this does not change things. In terms of a possible acquisition, the priority belongs to the Betalink network. Too converge various factors on this company. Judge for yourself. In Russia, only for Betalink, a mass rebranding of communication stores was launched, the concept was developed by the British company Fitch, which traditionally works with all the subsidiaries of AFK Sistema. For example, Fitch designers created Detsky Mir stores in a new format, they also had a hand in Single Access Point 2008. But, in my opinion, the priority of Betalink remained the same, fortunately, Mr. Fomenkov joked very harshly at the press breakfast about the concept of mobile salons with new products and the like. It is unlikely that he would do this about the network he plans to absorb.

There are no prerequisites for the sale of Eldorado Mobile, at the moment it is a very actively developing network, which looks like a favorite, squeezing old-formation companies out of the market. She may well claim third place, after Euroset and Svyaznoy.

Until the end of 2007, a clear answer from the representatives of the company about the magic number 1000 was not received. Such plans were made in the spring of 2007, but by the end of the summer they were replaced by cautious comments that this was not the main goal. According to TS Retail, positive EBITDA should be achieved in this business, which is the main objective of the project. AFK representatives have repeatedly stressed that existing retailers have zero EBITDA, and their task is to increase the margin and profitability of the business.

It turns out that the company "TS Retail" without buying someone will not be able to reach 1000 stores before the end of 2007. In principle, the game in the number of salons until the end of the reporting period has long been known among retail players. According to companies, this gives special value to the brand. For example, at the beginning of 2006, you say that you will have 2,000 points of sale in your network by the end of the year. The fact that there are only 400 of them at the moment shows your capabilities - finances, human reserves, and so on. At the end of the reporting period, you open at most 200 points of sale, but boldly build new Napoleonic plans. The majority have already forgotten about the old ones.

Does TS Retail play these games? In my opinion, definitely yes. In the absence of a sufficient number of employees, the company cannot expand dramatically, as the whole of 2006 showed. There are no growth reserves as such, and there are no market advantages, with the exception of access to “cheap” loans and financing from Sistema, either.

Until 2010 inclusive, the company plans to open 3,000 retail outlets (both monobrand MTS and under its own brand). The market leader, the Euroset company, today has a little less than 5000 points of sale, Svyaznoy - more than 1200. The same Svyaznoy plans to increase its own network to 2000-2400 points of sale over the same period of time. Why not more? The main problem is not opening points of sale, but maintaining the marginality of the business, which is impossible without a training program for salespeople, managers, in a word, personnel. Only by growing personnel, the company opens new points of sale, this process is interconnected. Opening just points of sale for the sake of quantity automatically leads to a deterioration in all financial indicators. Does TS Retail have an undeniable advantage in retail sales? According to the representatives of the company, this is a new retail store format invented by them.

Single Access Point 2008 Format

In order not to be confused with the names, let's take one of the working names as the main one, let it be "Single Access Point" or just a Hotspot. It is planned to introduce several innovations for the Russian market for the first time at Tochka. One of them is a self-service zone, in which the user can replenish his account, buy this or that service, in a word, relieve sales assistants in the store as much as possible. "What's new here?" – boldly ask you. The company believes that by opening round-the-clock access to this zone, they will be able to attract more customers. The format is exactly the same as in ATMs, only there the entrance is carried out with your magnetic card, here, apparently, it will be possible to enter without it. Such a self-service zone becomes possible through cooperation with the IBRD, the bank actually installs its own ATM and expands its network, this is a positive moment for it. In this aspect, perhaps, I am inclined to agree that the Point will outperform ordinary communication stores, they do not offer such a service. But the question arises in the demand for such a service at night. If it turns out to be noticeable, then copying from other retail players cannot be avoided.

The company is guided by the fact that for a comfortable purchase, two buyers should have at least 10 square meters of retail space. At the same time, the area of ​​salons will vary only in three sizes.

  • Kiosk - a salon in a shopping center, a place with high throughput, but lack of space or their high cost. Not a priority, looks like a response to the need to cover large areas. The cost of opening this format ranges from 12 to 20 thousand US dollars. Area - about 10-15 square meters. meters.
  • Regular point of sale. The area of ​​such a salon is at least 50 sq.m., the location is within walking distance, that is, such points are not oriented towards those who drive up in cars, this is generally a key feature of the concept. The cost of opening is from 50,000 USD, while the salon area is 80-100 sq.m. will cost about 100.000 USD. From this we can derive a simple formula that for TS Retail the cost per square meter is about 1000 USD.
  • Flagship. Shops ranging from 150 to 300 square meters. They are mainly located in large cities, unlike ordinary stores, they have a demonstration area where it is planned to show new products and services, that is, to acquaint customers with how it works.

For a regular point of sale, the amount of product balances is not less than 100,000 US dollars. It is assumed that the operating margin of an individual point should be 8 percent.

Fitch was involved in developing the concept of Tochka's retail space. If anyone is interested in how this concept looks in practice, then you can see it on the example of the Betalink salon in Ramstore Capital, on Vernadsky Avenue in Moscow. Not only zonality coincides, but also the name of the corresponding zones, their purpose. There is only a self-service area at night.

So, you are greeted by a self-service zone, here you can pay the bills of any of the companies that are part of AFK Sistema, in the future, and a number of other companies. For example, today it may be the first SkyExpress air discounter.

From the self-service area, the visitor enters the quick purchase area (10-15 minutes), there are stands with equipment, including an open display of goods, primarily mobile phones. If in the first year the telecommunications direction becomes the main one for TS Retail, then in the future the company plans to focus on other products, reducing the share of phones from 50-60 percent in turnover.

To be honest, in such zoning there is practically no know-how, everything is ordinary, another thing is what and to whom they are trying to sell at TS Retail, there are a lot of unusual things.

Audience portrait and product list

Willingly or unwittingly, but the company's representatives all the time emphasize the peculiarity of the TS Retail store format. Mr. Fomenkov says that it is impossible to call their stores with the word “salon”, this is something else. Tochka stores are designed to satisfy the basic need of a modern person, namely to eliminate the lack of time. That is the only reason why goods from various companies are collected under one roof, here you can find both financial services from the MBBR, and trips to Turkey or Egypt, air tickets, as well as goods traditional for communication stores (phones, laptops, mp3).

In fact, it turns out that, when you go to pay for communication services, you suddenly and impulsively take a loan for a trip to Egypt, and then buy something else. It looks at least strange.

The main problem in trying to sell something else in communication stores is not the inability to put it on the shelves, but the reluctance of buyers to purchase this product. In one of the conversations about 5 years ago with the owner of the retail chain, the phrase was heard: “You see, we can even sell washing powder. But it's ugly, and people for washing powder will go to the hardware store, and not to us. We must have goods that are close in spirit and understanding.”

The same Euroset has already tried to sell both tourist vouchers and airline tickets. Both directions were not very successful, as they required time, other qualifications of sellers. With minimal investment, these directions do not give Brand New Boots and high margins, they are time-consuming.

The same Euroset has already tried to sell both tourist vouchers and airline tickets. Both directions were not very successful, as they required time, other qualifications of sellers. With minimal investment, these directions do not give Brand New Boots Brand New Boots and high margins, they are time consuming.

Why is TS Retail so convinced that they will do better than others? Do not know. I have not been able to find a rational answer to this. After all, all the explanations that the Tochka trademark will be clear and simple for the consumer, will clearly convey the values ​​of the brand and the like, are nothing more than intricate verbiage of consulting firms and marketing. To convey, you need to sell. And in Russia, while the majority of people, going to a cell phone store, expect to find there not Cheburashka, but cell phones and, possibly, related products. To paraphrase an old joke about a gun and a watch, we can say that when you come to Tochka, instead of the desired mobile phone, you can hear the answer: “Maybe you will go to Egypt to relax for the same money?” It sounds a little crazy, but what to do, that's the concept.

The project audience in TS Retail is described as two large communities of people at once:

  • Traditional people (I need persuasion and help...) Thrifty student, Traditional saleswoman, Solid employee. Again, discarding the husks of marketing phrases, it turns out that the company focuses on the mass market segment, that is, to some extent, on conservative buyers.
  • New Generation (I need inspiration and support...) Ambitious Manager, Active Gamer, Media Schoolgirl. On the contrary, this is the premium segment, as well as young people who are looking for a product, despite its cost, actively consume new items. The tastiest audience for any retail player.

Let's forgive the authors of the presentation for these inconceivable names, they really take your breath away sometimes. Another thing is that it is impossible to imagine an Ambitious manager and a Thrifty student actively and enthusiastically buying one thing. Well, at least crack, but in my picture of the world there are no department stores for all segments of the population. It seemed to me, but these are purely personal impressions, in the concept of "TS Retail" they crossed a grass snake with a hedgehog. There was a strategy that said that these are premium stores that support the appropriate impression of MTS and so on. But in the premium segment, you won’t be able to go far, in order to pay off the stores, mass sales are needed. It was to please them that “traditional people” appeared. Is it possible to bring opposites together at one point in space? It is possible that it is possible. But a couple of times a representative of the middle class will run into someone who imposes on him a ticket not to the mountains, but under the Egyptian sun, and that's it, the charm of the design of the point of sale is gone, the person goes to another place. The TS Retail strategy looks at least controversial, it did not find an intuitive understanding from a single person with whom I managed to discuss it during this time.

A big bet is made on the sale of convergent services, in the presentation a whole slide is devoted to them. For example, by issuing an IBBR credit card and using it to pay for a trip to Turkey with Intourist, you will receive a ticket for a child for free. Or, having bought a mobile phone and a tariff plan from MTS, you will receive headphones as a gift. With an annual contract with MTT, get a 50% discount on a Samsung DECT phone.

Such promotions are not new in ordinary networks, there is nothing unusual and attractive for the buyer. This is the norm of modern retail.

According to the representatives of the company, at the moment there are about 20 contracts with different companies at the stage of preparation. It will be Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sony, LG and a number of other companies. The commotion on the market was caused by the message that TS Retail plans to negotiate with Apple and is conducting them. Although it would be more correct to say that the negotiations were about special promotions and budgets, bypassing the Apple IMC. At the same time, it is Apple IMC that will supply goods to TS Retail stores, and the latter will not differ in any way from the current stores of other distributors working with Apple. The pricing policy for Apple products will be at the market level in Russia. It's just one of the items in the TS Retail cart.

In general, a diverse portfolio of products is a time bomb under the ideology of premium stores. We have already written about the not very popular destinations for tours to Turkey and Egypt among the middle class, but the sale of air tickets is also a mine laid by the company's management. When you see an advertisement that you can buy air tickets at the Tochka store, what do you think? That's right, it's a ticket in either direction. However, ticketing requires qualification, and this is not possible at every point. The solution is simple - to work with a company that sells not tickets, but prepaid flight cards, in Russia it is Sky Express, the first discounter. It looks like you came to the Petrovsky Passage to buy yourself a seat in a second-class carriage to Norilsk. Having previously bought a couple of three suits right there, as well as ordering an expensive phone. The positioning of the service and the positioning of the store do not fit. They are directly opposite. Inconsistency. Just another inconsistency. But there are so many of them that I don’t even want to list them all.

Personnel decides everything or staff shortage

The staff of any TS Retail store must be at least 30 percent higher than that of ordinary communication stores. This dictates the need to sell not only technology in related areas, but also financial services and vouchers. Such a number of managers should have an extremely negative impact on the profitability of each point.

Personnel shortage is a characteristic phenomenon in the market in general and in the mobile retail market in particular. It would be possible to attract the best sellers to TS Retail with exorbitantly inflated salaries, but this does not happen, wages are at an average level, and only vacancies speak about this. Also, if you look at the list of required specialists, you get the impression that the company is almost completely understaffed. There are no people in key positions. You can see the full list here.

I will allow myself a wonderful excerpt from the proclamation why you need to go to work at TS Retail.

TS-Retail was founded at the end of 2006. The company was established to manage a new retail project, the decision to develop which was made by AFK Sistema, and is its subsidiary. The project involves the creation of a retail network of a new format. The network's existing stores offer communication service contracts for companies belonging to the Sistema Telecom holding, communication equipment and related products. In addition, the services of other companies included in the AFK, such as Intourist and MBRD Bank, are also presented. The project plans are very ambitious - 1000 operating stores by the end of 2007.

In the framework of the project, the brand and roses are of paramount importance