How retailers can keep PC sales steady

With desktop shipments dipping, what should retailers and resellers consider when selling PCs nowadays – and what can they do to keep sales steady? Dominic Sacco and Jade Burke ask figures across the industry for their advice…

”Concentrate on form factors that have been selling well. For example, in our distribution data we have seen all-in-one (AIO) desktops become the strongest growth driver in recent quarters, in the consumer space. In Q1 2015, the format factor registered year-on-year growth of 49 per cent in the UK.
In the business space, ultra-small form factors and mini-towers have been the strongest growing form factors and grew 253 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.”

Lachlan Welsh, Senior analyst, Context

”Pick a niche, and do not try to take on the big companies without having a large marketing budget. Sell on service and not price; charge for your knowledge not your time.”

Clifford Johnson, Owner, PCs Made Simple

”We like to offer bundle deals to our domestic users. This is a great way of driving the price up a little without having to discount or take money off the asking price. It adds more value to the deal – we go away with the price we want, the customer goes away happy with a great value deal. For businesses, we like to provide a few hours setting up and installation for the price of just one hour (so we get the asking price and call out charge). Again, it’s great value and no discounting. 

“On top of this, we offer monthly packages to maintain/monitor computers, as well as remote IT support and ongoing support plans.”

Paul Betteridge, Owner, The Laptop Fixers

”Firstly, we haven’t seen sales of desktops dipping – quite the opposite in fact – and that goes for our customers too. 

“Basically, there are two approaches to selling desktops: box-shifting by stacking high, selling cheap, or selling the right system for your customer’s needs. 

“The second approach is the one typical to indies – it promotes their expertise and customer care – and where we are seeing the most growth, particularly in customising systems to a customer’s exact requirements. This is great news for indies, it’s what they’re best at. It differentiates them from the box shifters, it creates a higher sell price, provides higher margins and there is no stock risk. It’s also great for customers as they will get exactly what they want, from the people best-placed to advise them.”

Paul Cubbage, MD, Target Components

”Focus on what differentiates you – your expertise and experience, your customer care and your desire to sell the right product to the customer, not just the one you have in stock. 

“Customisation and offering a bespoke desktop should be your primary focus as it differentiates you from the (big) High Street chains.

It also promotes you: your expertise, your integrity, your impartial advice and your trustworthiness. Others can copy your systems but they can’t copy you – make this the centerpiece of your in-store and out-of-store promotions, have facilities to help customers through the process, for example Target’s In-Store PC Builder, and promote your point of difference. Selling desktops is all about satisfying customers’ exact requirements.”

John Coulter, Business advisor, Target Components

”The advice that we give to our resellers would be to capitalise on the innovation going on in the PC market and use the new breadth of devices to attract a new audience. 

“We’d also advise really listening to what customers need from new hardware and encouraging them to think about the next two to three years in terms of user experience.”

Daley Robinson, Director, Stone Group

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