Nokia in Kuwait is a surprisingly well run operation. I dont want to generalize the whole Middle East, so I’m just going to talk about Kuwait in particular here.
Now like I said, Nokia really seems to know what they’re doing in Kuwait. I’ve been here a little more than 2 weeks now and I’ve seen tons of people using E71’s and N95-8GB’s with a couple N96’s and E75’s here and there, so whatever they’re doing, its definitely working (Of course there’s the occasional Blackberry and iPhone around too but lets stick to the topic).
Walk into any of Kuwait’s Malls, and chances are you’ll find a Nokia Store there. Walk into that Nokia Store and you’ll probably see something like this :
A whole wall of recent phones from Nokia, and a whole bunch of Nokia accessories for you to check out. I’ve been to three major Nokia Stores (in three major malls) and all of them have had this arrangement or something similar.
And that’s not all. The latest flagship phone released has its special section with a whole bunch of brochures and a list of features to show it off.
Here we have the Nokia E75 which was released recently, attached to a pair of standard headphones to show off its standard 3.5mm Audio jack, all prepped and ready for you to check out.
The brochures actually have useful information in them, talking about the features of the device :
While I was taking this picture, one of the Salesmen came around and started talking to me about the Phone. I wanted to see if he actually knew anything about the device, so I asked him a couple questions ranging from Files on Ovi, to Nokia Messaging on the E75 and egads, he seemed to know all of it. Expectedly, there were a few things he didnt know, but I was pretty impressed by how much the guy knew, atleast about the E75, because I was used to Nokia Salespeople often not knowing what the heck I was talking about.
When I pulled out my Red E75, he was amazed that I managed to get a Red Color version of the device. Apparently Nokia’s also very clever about what color variants they release in the middle east. Red is known to be the “Royal” color, and a red variant of a device is often released when interest in it seems to be dying down or so. No wonder they had red variants of the E71 and E66 both, right there. Keeping the interest going. In a country where petrol’s cheaper than water, people have the cash to spend on color variants to remain “in style”.
I also noticed that all the handsets there, be it flagship or standard Nokia device, all of them had arabic lettering in addition to the English numbers and alphabets on the device.
Definitely helpful for the local Arabic speakers here, although I dont think I’d want my E75 with all that on it, cause I dont speak a word of the language hehe.
If all that wasnt enough, there are tons of giant posters around to let you know what phone’s the latest and “in style” at the moment.
One Mall even had a giant HUGE poster of the Nokia E75 hanging outside :
Now that’s advertising. The Nokia E75 billboards and posters are all around Kuwait. A lot of my friends who dont know anything about Nokia’s latest, saw my red E75 and said “Hey I’ve seen that phone on billboards around here”.
And earlier I mentioned Accessories. Egads do they have accessories. I think I’ve seen about every Nokia Accessory available here (Except the darn DT-22 Tripod which I’ve been looking for, for years !).
I’ve found a couple rare ones too, like the Nokia SportsTracker Arm Band :
Which I was tempted to buy, but it was way too expensive for me.
And a couple not so rare ones, like various bluetooth headsets and the Nokia Display Car Kit :
And if that wasnt enough for you, if you’ve got the extra cash to spare and want to have a really unique device, Nokia stores here also have a section where they sell jewel-encrusted Nokia devices (I call them Blingphones).
Tempting, eh ?
The insanely high prices of the bling’d out devices might scare you away though hehe. Here’s my standard Black N82 vs a Bling’d out N82 :
Heh. Still think I’ll stick with mine thank you.
It’s not just the Nokia Store experience that’s great here. Even services like Nokia Maps, actually work pretty fine here. I bought a Navigation license for Nokia Maps to make sure I dont get lost, and it actually works pretty well.
Although the points of interest seem to be a bit out of date. It listed a couple restaurants that moved about a year ago, and some malls arnt anywhere on Nokia’s Map of Kuwait (and Malls are a big deal here).
When you think about it, this is how all of Nokia’s Stores should be. I like walking into a store and having the whole arsenal of Nokia accessories right there so I dont have to hunt around. I like that the salesperson I’m talking to actually knows a good amount of info about the device that I’m interested in. I like being able to test and play around with a Nokia phone that I’m thinking of buying, instead of just having to stare at it, through a glass display.
Nokia in the Middle East (or atleast Kuwait in this case) have gotten it right. It’s no wonder that they’re doing so well here.