Honesty and transparency will kill your sales. Or not?


I constantly go to stores that sell electronics, look at shop windows, study what people choose, how sellers communicate with them. Each store is different from another, somewhere the individuality of the seller is manifested, usually these are fictions that have no relation to reality. But the system settings on the part of the manufacturer and / or the retailer are easy to read, as the salespeople are taught what they must say. Several times I saw how smartphones from Honor are sold, however, the same can be attributed to Huawei, I just did not come across such situations. The seller picturesquely talks about the advantages of the device, colorfully describes the bright case, scratch-resistant glass, and then says: And also there are no services from Google, I must warn you about this… Strange as it may seem, such a passage introduces an ordinary person into a stupor, he does not understand what exactly they want to convey to him with this information. And here the installation on the part of the manufacturer, who asks to be sure to tell about it, suddenly breaks down, and options begin. Each salesperson proceeds from his experience, from what kind of person he sees in front of him. Usually, a straightforward explanation goes something like this: You have a regular Android inside, but the app store is not from Google, but from Huawei, most of the programs in it are the same, and you can put some missing ones by hand, you will need to download the file… With my ears I heard a question that cannot be predicted in such a situation: Is this really Android? And then I somehow got used to him… The seller reassured the person and suggested that it was Android, but without Gmail, Play Store and other Google applications.

In my head, Android is strongly associated with Google, it seems that these are twins, it is simply impossible to imagine their existence without each other. You say Android, you immediately remember Google. And I’m not the only one, many people think the same way. Let me remind you that a year ago America imposed sanctions on Huawei / Honor, and Google was forced to suspend cooperation, since then Huawei has no right to use Android with the company’s services. Huawei decided to create its own alternative and called it Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), it also includes the AppGallery app store. Many people, myself included, thought that now the number of rejections from using Huawei / Honor smartphones would be high. Who needs an Android smartphone without the usual Google apps that many consider basic? Google has deliberately integrated its applications into the system and made Android empty and rather scarce without them.

Life turned out to be much more interesting than thinking in the office. Suddenly, Huawei / Honor smartphones have not received any unthinkable number of returns, and discussions on the network are not replete with scary stories when someone bought such a device and faced the fact that it was impossible to use it, since there was no one or another program. The situation is surprising in all senses, since in absentia it was possible to assume exactly the opposite. How did it happen, why people do not rent Huawei / Honor smartphones without Google services? Was it some peculiarity of the mentality that influenced the situation or something else? Considering that Huawei / Honor is one of the three manufacturers in Russia, more than the same Apple, it is impossible to attribute the absence of problems to the insignificance of the brand. This is clearly a different situation.

Honesty and transparency will kill your sales. Or not?

Conversations with sellers in various retail chains, in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, revealed one important point – they are strictly ordered to report the absence of services from Google, the availability of alternatives from Huawei. And for the majority, this approach contradicts logic, since there is a stereotype in the head that Android is Google, and without Google, the existence of a smartphone is impossible. When the sanctions first appeared, the typical reasoning in the media was the recitative that now Huawei is guaranteed to die, since who in their right mind would buy a smartphone without Google services. The competition in the market is enormous, the choice from different models is such that you can choose a device for every taste and budget. And therefore, Huawei simply has no chance of survival, because why buy these smartphones if there are analogues with Google services. The lack of services from Google was interpreted as an unambiguous minus, which will affect the perception of the product and turn customers away from it.

The logic of this thought was clear, further development of the logical chain led to the fact that now Huawei / Honor smartphones will fall sharply in value, since they are “worse” than regular Android smartphones, and this “worse” is manifested in the absence of Google. Another point was the belief of many IT journalists and bloggers who joined them in the fact that from now on Huawei / Honor smartphones will be sold, hiding the lack of services from Google. The logic of this conclusion lies on the surface, since those who say this thought that Huawei / Honor smartphones were nothing without Google, and the company would not be able to create a full replacement in a short time. But most importantly, in order to support sales, companies will strenuously hide the inferiority of such solutions in relation to ordinary Android smartphones. The presumption of innocence does not work in our world, and fiction often turns into a kind of reflection of reality, albeit for a small group of people.

Inside Huawei / Honor, no one wanted to hide the absence of Google services, since this is the position of the weak, a deliberately losing situation. Can anyone really think that a person who has bought a device and found at home that he cannot install the same Gmail, will suddenly turn a blind eye to it? I think that the frustration will be great, and the phone will be carried back to the store. Some stores will accept this model back, some will start to brainwash, but ultimately the blow to the manufacturer’s reputation will be maximal. And for the Huawei / Honor brand, this would be another negative factor that would not allow the sale of smartphones as before.

In life, it is always necessary to evaluate not only words, but also deeds. Huawei did it simply, openly began to talk about an alternative to GMS in the form of HMS, do not hide this fact and ask sellers in retail stores to warn about it. You know, this approach is close to me, on our website advertising materials are always marked with the label “As advertising”, and there is also a letter “P” in the announcement. Many readers do not want to read ads, why deceive them and force them to do it? I often come across the fact that they are ashamed of this marking (and this is, for a minute, a requirement of the law), placed in small print somewhere in the corner so that no one can see, or placed at all at the end of the article.

Huawei’s approach is close to me in its consonance, there is no desire to smell the product at any cost, as many pen masters suggested. And why? After all, if you think about it, then a disappointed buyer will be lost for the manufacturer, he will simply not return to him in the next twenty years. And trying to earn the customer’s trust will be very costly, both in marketing costs and in the efforts of the entire manufacturing team. In the literal sense of the word, you will need to set records that can be avoided if you allow the very little – to be frank with the buyer.

When a huge corporation tries to be honest with a customer, it scares us, and we always want to find a second bottom. It always seems that honesty hides some kind of catch. There is no such trick in the history of Android with HMS services, Huawei and Honor felt that it was better to sell fewer smartphones and tablets than to face disappointed expectations of their users. Honestly, openly, and in itself unusual for a huge company. It seems to us that everything revolves around sales, profits and capitalism involves achieving these goals at any cost. Huawei argues that the attitude towards customers can be quite transparent and understandable, people need to be respected and not try to sell them something, hiding the characteristics of the product.

I’ve heard responses that this is a suicidal approach, since Android without Google is not Android at all and no one needs it. Such comments appear very often on the site. But the fact is that Huawei / Honor smartphones are in short supply today, and there is no noticeable history with their returns to the store. The bet on transparency and honesty in relations with customers has done its job, people perceive the absence of certain programs not as the end of the world, but as a slight difficulty, which it is. This does not mean at all that at the moment it is possible to equate HMS and GMS, the system from Huawei is still catching up with Google, but it is doing it by leaps and bounds.

Each page with a description of Huawei / Honor smartphones and tablets provides information on how to install applications, what AppGallery is. This is just transparency in relation to the buyer.

Honesty and transparency will kill your sales. Or not?

In retail, the company spends effort and money to train sellers to explain the lack of Google services, to make this point clear and transparent. For some, this seems illogical, unnatural (they must hide their flaws, why do they highlight them at their own expense?). But the question here is that HMS is perceived as a disadvantage by a small group of people, HMS services are rapidly developing and neutralize the difference with similar services from Google.

I specifically inquired about the number of returns of Huawei / Honor smartphones in regional and federal retail, the answers sincerely pleased and surprised me. Wherever users were told about the differences between HMS and GMS, the level of returns is minimal, at the level of models from other companies. Where they did not do this, they concealed this fact, the returns are much higher, the sellers outsmarted themselves. A good example of how an honest approach pays for itself a hundredfold, and the results are visible instantly.

There are many amazing moments in this story. It is unexpected that a huge company can be so transparent about the consumer. Surprisingly, Android no longer implies a direct association with Google; this stereotype can be gradually forgotten. I wanted to tell the stories of people I met by chance and they chose Huawei / Honor smartphones without Google services, but I realized that this would already be a separate text. The stereotype says that life without Google on Android is hard, if not impossible. Almost a year ago I had exactly the same impression that many things are missing or they work crookedly. But today I can say that many children’s sores have been lived through and everything has become noticeably better to work. But the main thing is not even this, but the people’s belief that the HMS system will develop and develop quickly. Many buyers believe in Huawei so much that they buy Huawei / Honor products without regard to sanctions, use them here and now without experiencing any problems. This means that the anchors that Google tried to connect users to their services no longer work. Which, in turn, creates a completely different market and different opportunities for different companies, not just Huawei.

In this technological example, it is good to consider honesty as a strategy for a successful company, transparency in relationships. And perhaps it’s time to ask you how you feel about honesty and transparency. Are you practicing? Or is it not for you?

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