By Patrick Avenell,

The high uptake of Amaysim through the retail channel has surprised CEO Rolf Hansen, with the German boss of Australia’s newest telecommunications player saying that his pared down alternative to the Big Three (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone) is moving swiftly towards mass market.

“We’ve seen that the retail channels have responded more positively than we had thought,” Hansen said. “We had around 2,000 retail outlets at start, including Woollies, Caltex, Harvey Norman and 7-Eleven, and that number is definitely going to grow over the next month.

Hansen continued to say that he is in discussions with a number of other retailers, though he did not identify which ones. He also chose not to disclose any figures relating to overall take-up, though he did say the consumer response was meeting Amaysim’s ambitious expectations.

Although the retail channel segment is performing above expectation, Hansen said this has not affected Amaysim’s online sales, which is the “core” of its business. Hansen’s plan is to have both a strong retail presence and a flourishing online presence.

“I think we have even more of a chance to build a real integrated, multi-channel distribution here with the combination of online and retail, and that’s a positive surprise we have had,” he said.

“From all the markets we’ve been into, and we see the same trend here, once you achieve mass market distribution, which I think in Australia you would talk about 4,000 or 5,000 points of sale, it’s skewed towards retail.”

Combining a skew towards retail whilst having online as the core of the business implies cognitive dissonance, but Hansen explained why he needs to have both operating in tandem, perhaps even with a skew away from this stated core.

“The research we commissioned here in Australia showed that around 6 million do frequent online transactions, be it electronic banking or buying stuff, so 6 million out of 22 million people, which already tells you no matter how good you are at online, and I think our website is a state of the art e-commerce website, you only reach roughly one-third of the population you would like to target, and the other two-thirds obviously are not online savvy and would rather buy the product in retail.”

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