Wireless retailer Wireless Zone is the nation’s largest Verizon franchisor, with over 360 locations across the U.S. Wireless Zone has provided Verizon products and services for almost 30 years and, most recently, has turned its sights on development in Chicago.
Keith Dziki, Executive Director of Development for Wireless Zone, said there are two elements drawing the brand to expand in the Chicago market.
“One, Chicago is a market where no one provider has an abundance of market share over any other,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to capture more market share through additional points of distribution and the activation of new customers.”
The second reason Chicago has emerged as a critical growth market is the market’s anticipated demand for what the tech-savvy consider the future of wireless: the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, or 5G. The advent of 5G will mean a higher data rate and augmented capacity and device connectivity.
“Going forward, 5G will be the advancement in wireless technology that will position Verizon even further ahead of the competition than they already are,” Dziki said. “We want to capitalize on that launch and bring awareness of the 5G platform to wireless customers in the Chicago market.”
Wireless Zone makes for an exciting franchise opportunity, not only because of the forthcoming rollout of 5G services and devices, but also because of the brand’s role in an established industry.
“The wireless industry is not going anywhere anytime soon,” said Dziki, speaking to the longevity of Wireless Zone’s model. “We saw the development of the cellular device itself, then the advent of connective devices like watches, glasses and so on. The devices of the future are already here, today, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. This is a tidal wave of growth that continues to grow larger and larger in the wireless industry.”
Margaret Cooley, Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager for Wireless Zone, elaborated on the brand’s growth roadmap by underscoring Wireless Zone’s commitment to always offering the latest technology.
“In addition to Verizon, we carry the latest, newest devices from the biggest names in the wireless industry, including Apple, Samsung and Google,” Cooley said. “There’s a steady customer base who demands the latest technology. Wireless Zone is unique in the industry because prepaid partner providers are often several generations behind.”
Echoing Dziki’s earlier emphasis on the growth opportunities inherent in the rollout of an increasing product line of wearable smart technology, Cooley said that Wireless Zone guests can not only pick up their favorite wearable device, but also customize it in line with their personal style.
“Wearable smart technology—watches, trackers and other devices—are now mainstream, and Wireless Zone has seen a significant increase in the sales of not only an iconic phone, but the matching watch,” Cooley said. “Smart watches have personalized options like rose gold and a choice of watch bands to make it as customized as the phone.”
Additionally, Dziki said, Wireless Zone enjoys a unique and competitive position as a Verizon vendor-partner.
“There’s really not an opportunity outside of Wireless Zone to really get into the wireless industry and be tied, specifically, to a proven wireless provider,” Dziki said.
Wireless Zone already has franchise owners in locations throughout Chicago, but Dziki explained that part of Wireless Zone’s strategy going forward will be to bolster those pre-existing locations and target new ones.
“For our franchise owners in the Chicago marketplace, we want to better them as owner-operators, establish their locations more prominently in the community and prepare them for the launch of 5G,” Dziki said. “We will look to those Chicago owners as development partners throughout 2019 and beyond.”
At the same time, Dziki said, Wireless Zone is also looking to expand the franchise opportunity to other individuals and to investors. Dziki again emphasized that franchisees and franchise partners alike stand to benefit from Wireless Zone’s direct connection to Verizon, a brand with nationwide awareness and proven brand strength.
“Yes, there are accessories brands or those doing re-selling of devices and repair, but to be actually able to work side by side with a major provider, and wear the brand name and badge of that provider, there’s no one else like that in the space other than Wireless Zone,” Dziki said.
On top of the benefit of working as a vendor-partner to a nationally recognizable brand, prospective franchisees can also look forward to significant franchisor support.
“We train and educate our owner-operators on everything from brand standards to the operational standards necessary to run the business,” Dziki said. “So we’re looking for partners who are flexible and can adapt to an industry that changes quickly, sometimes overnight.”
Ideal candidates do not need to have previous experience in the wireless industry, but Dziki does underscore the benefit of coming in with an established understanding of the business world.
“Those with the acumen centered around owning a business or businesses really helps. If you understand how to manage inventory, cash flow, financials, operations and the like, you’re well-prepared. We have worked with individuals from all walks of life. We are looking for that individual who embraces change, has that drive and demonstrates a willingness to adapt to an ever-changing industry.”
In regards to goals for 2019, Dziki underscored his initial points of focus, saying that it’s not about the numbers, but capturing that Chicago market share with the right partners in advance of the explosion of 5G.
“The ideal candidate can weather the buildup of this continued market share capture and the launch and release of the 5G network. Whether that individual comes in and opens two or a dozen locations in 2019 is not the major concern. The focus is making sure we have the right partner who has the stabilized growth that is not going to affect the relationships we’ve worked to build with Verizon as a vendor-partner,” Dziki said.
At the same time, Wireless Zone will develop its existing points of distribution in the Chicago market.
“We will work with those franchise owners to better their brand awareness in their communities, capture that growth of the customer base from other providers, be prepared for the launch of 5G and look to them as potential growth partners to continue building our presence in Chicago,” said Dziki.
The total investment to open a Wireless Zone location is $142,500 to $328,500, including a $25,000 franchising fee. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Wireless Zone, click here.