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New Shop - Your input appreciated
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dan_uk_1984
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Smile New Shop - Your input appreciated - 05-10-2013, 16:33 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

Hi Guys (and gals),

I'd like to start by saying this isn't an advert for my business, so hope the post is allowed. I'm after some genuine advice as to what you would like to see in a real life shop...

Hoping you can help - I'll be opening a retail shop on the high street. It's a difficult period to open a shop in, but I'm a firm believer that if the business is good then it will survive and prosper.

Part of this is knowing what your customers want. So I put it to you, what do you expect from a small local computer shop, what are the staple things they should stock and what would be your "wish-list"?

So far I have:
Budget through to medium spec peripherals - high end stuff would tie up too much startup capital to start with.

HDD's, Optical drives & PSU's etc the sort of thing you need NOW when you burn it out during a heavy gaming session.

Modding area with neons, fans, etc etc.

Demo area with low to high end systems - all with the latest games installed for people to try out. I will charge tourists (busy tourist area) to check their emails and stuff.

WiFi and comfy sofa area. Round meeting table with 4 chairs. Can I charge for WiFi or should I use it as a tool to get customers through the door?

If you were running a computer shop - what extras would you have?

What turns you off of a retail shop (other than prices) and sends you off to the internet?

Many thanks for your time - I appreciate there are a lot of questions there, just shout out your thoughts if you can?

Thanks,

Dan ;-)
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 16:36 | posts: 4,810 | Location: Scotland

there are a few guiru's here that have shops or have had shops, so you should find some sound advice here....

good luck with your endeavours!!
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 16:47 | posts: 1,848 | Location: Sault Ste. Marie Ont. CA

Table dancers are good.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 16:49 | posts: 4,782 | Location: 127.0.0.1

There is a small PC shop near me and it annoys me seeing them displaying really old and low end hardware in the window as if it was high end expensive, with big yellow stars advertising a rip-off price as if it was a bargain

That makes me walk past instead of having a look around

So that's my 2c on what not to do
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 17:05 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

That is helpful thanks. I know what you mean, it seems people who run computer shops have no interest in computers! Just the money.

Whilst I appreciate that you have to make money to stay in business, I also think you should be passionate about the products you're selling.

I asked our local PC shop for a copy of windows 8 a month after release - he didn't know what that was - I was utterly gob smacked.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 17:20 | posts: 24,315 | Location: Hampshire UK

I would expect my local pc shop to be almost as cheap as e-tailers. I don't mind paying a little bit more than I can find online because picking it up from the store is free and I would avoid waiting a few days for the delivery.

One thing that would make me buy from a local shop is the following. I wouldn't expect a pc shop to store an extensive range of products, but I would like to be able to ring them up, and have them say they can get pretty much whatever I want ordered for me for pick up next day. that would be a massive bonus.

EDIT: I'm assuming you're in the UK, where are you opening this shop? I'll come spend some cash if it's near me
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 17:26 | posts: 4,138 | Location: Not Far North Enough (England)

Where are you based OP?
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:00 | posts: 158 | Location: BC, Canada

This might sound a bit weird, but here in canada all the best computer shops I've been in have kind of a high-end coffee shop incorporated in. Makes it more of a hang-out for WiFi access and more comfortable I think, plus you might make a little selling that stuff.

Just an idea...

of course the focus should be all things computers, but when people can hang-out, chat about computers and use them, trying games etc. they will buy a coffee and bran muffin too.

Good Luck!
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:27 | posts: 8,471 | Location: London, Ontario

I would never use wi-fi at a place that makes me pay, other than a Hotel. So don't charge for it.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:30 | posts: 6,449 | Location: Chilling

Focus on what customers what, not what you think they should want.

Which means, have a large phone and tablet section. A lot of people want to physically hold and try out phones and tablets before they buy them, not so much with desktops and laptops. Make sure to sell phone accessories as well.

Offer repair services, both phones/tablets and computers. Tell the customers that all warranty claims will be handled by the respective company through you.

Let them try out the products, have the products nicely spaced and not all bunched up. Make sure to show the average consumer what they want in each product. The average consumer doesn't have the slightest clue about the difference between an i3 and i7 CPU, so don't bother overwhelming them with technical details, but he does know buzzwords like "Full HD", "Long battery life", "Intel CPU", etc.

Have a sitting area where a customer can try out a product (like a phone, tablet or laptop) while have a coffee and snacks. Free WiFi is a must, just make it short range (lower the transmission strength), and make sure it's fast so that the customers see the speed of the new computing device.

Remember, you are up against online retailers that can offer the product for cheaper, so you have to give costumers a reason why they should turn to you.

My $0.02

Last edited by Chillin; 05-10-2013 at 18:34.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:37 | posts: 24,315 | Location: Hampshire UK

I don't think he wants to compete with Carphone warehouse, phones 4 u and such tbh.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:51 | posts: 15,276 | Location: UK

As above I'd say you need to offer repairs. People would expect it and it'll be easy money as the majority of the time it's something very simple. Most people are fine with day-to-day usage when it's working but don't have a clue when it stops! Many just make a mess of their Windows install but forget they have a recovery partition or media.

Reckon you should look into tablets, phones and laptops more than desktop PC customisation. The latter has very limited appeal.
   
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eclap
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:55 | posts: 24,315 | Location: Hampshire UK

wouldn't selling phones be quite difficult? most people buy phones on contract, the number of people buying phones sim free is quite small compared to contract people I'm pretty sure, limiting his clientele quite a lot.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 18:59 | posts: 9,776 | Location: UK

One of the bigger problems you are going to have is getting the price breaks from your distributors, otherwise you cant compete on price or anywhere near.
You will need to get creative with them to make them believe you will start getting bigger business through the door, and then you cant fail or you can lose trust.
This is difficult at any time, especially during recession.
If you can achieve the above, then thats great, but you will become very like other online retailers, very money focused.

So that means you may want to find other ways of providing value to your customers and attracting them in to your shop.
Definitely make your shop look appealing to gamers, housewives who need a friendly service and businessmen, if those are all your target markets, perhaps in different areas of the store if you have the space.
Product diversity is really extensive these days (ie PCs of various size/power, servers maybe, wireless and wired networking gear, laptops, netbooks, slabs, handhelds, phones, and different type/mfrs of consoles) and you may not have the windows space for all your target markets, so you may need some help with this.
Modern, bright, clean and cheerful are good starting points.

A customising service would be good, as long it will stand the test of peoples experience of it, so word of mouth is good.
A bad reputation for any service will make you lose appeal.
You do need to consider how much time will be spent providing the customer services, so I'd put good effort into developing fast methods of providing those services, preferably automated.
Technical knowhow is going to be your friend.

It looks like you have some nice ideas already to to get people into the store and keep them there for a while.
A social gathering place is a great place to have.
But then you have security concerns.
If you dont have the time and funds to handle/chase up problems of this nature, its best to make the place look very secure.
You dont want to become known as an easy target, so get this right from the start.
Lots of cameras and human security may be wise.

Keep your customer data and business related info very isolated from any public networks, hackers love a challenge.

Last edited by Mufflore; 05-10-2013 at 19:02.
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:13 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclap View Post
I would expect my local pc shop to be almost as cheap as e-tailers. I don't mind paying a little bit more than I can find online because picking it up from the store is free and I would avoid waiting a few days for the delivery.

One thing that would make me buy from a local shop is the following. I wouldn't expect a pc shop to store an extensive range of products, but I would like to be able to ring them up, and have them say they can get pretty much whatever I want ordered for me for pick up next day. that would be a massive bonus.

EDIT: I'm assuming you're in the UK, where are you opening this shop? I'll come spend some cash if it's near me
Eclap - Pricing isn't actually too bad, margins on small items like cables are fairly good. Big value items like laptops have low margins, generally make around 10-20% which isn't great considering the outlay. PC's and components are better for profit really.
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:15 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildStyle View Post
As above I'd say you need to offer repairs. People would expect it and it'll be easy money as the majority of the time it's something very simple. Most people are fine with day-to-day usage when it's working but don't have a clue when it stops! Many just make a mess of their Windows install but forget they have a recovery partition or media.

Reckon you should look into tablets, phones and laptops more than desktop PC customisation. The latter has very limited appeal.
Will definitely be doing repairs/servicing. That's what I'm doing for someone else at the mo. They charge 60PH! I wont be charging that much, but it will be my bread and butter basically.
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:16 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclap View Post
wouldn't selling phones be quite difficult? most people buy phones on contract, the number of people buying phones sim free is quite small compared to contract people I'm pretty sure, limiting his clientele quite a lot.
I agree - plus I don't really want to be a phone shop :-)
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:17 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
One of the bigger problems you are going to have is getting the price breaks from your distributors, otherwise you cant compete on price or anywhere near.
You will need to get creative with them to make them believe you will start getting bigger business through the door, and then you cant fail or you can lose trust.
This is difficult at any time, especially during recession.
If you can achieve the above, then thats great, but you will become very like other online retailers, very money focused.

So that means you may want to find other ways of providing value to your customers and attracting them in to your shop.
Definitely make your shop look appealing to gamers, housewives who need a friendly service and businessmen, if those are all your target markets, perhaps in different areas of the store if you have the space.
Product diversity is really extensive these days (ie PCs of various size/power, servers maybe, wireless and wired networking gear, laptops, netbooks, slabs, handhelds, phones, and different type/mfrs of consoles) and you may not have the windows space for all your target markets, so you may need some help with this.
Modern, bright, clean and cheerful are good starting points.

A customising service would be good, as long it will stand the test of peoples experience of it, so word of mouth is good.
A bad reputation for any service will make you lose appeal.
You do need to consider how much time will be spent providing the customer services, so I'd put good effort into developing fast methods of providing those services, preferably automated.
Technical knowhow is going to be your friend.

It looks like you have some nice ideas already to to get people into the store and keep them there for a while.
A social gathering place is a great place to have.
But then you have security concerns.
If you dont have the time and funds to handle/chase up problems of this nature, its best to make the place look very secure.
You dont want to become known as an easy target, so get this right from the start.
Lots of cameras and human security may be wise.

Keep your customer data and business related info very isolated from any public networks, hackers love a challenge.
Top info there! Thanks
   
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dan_uk_1984
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:19 | posts: 12 | Location: Bude, Cornwall

I guess that's why they added the "multi-quote" button - Oops!

Some brill ideas. Tempted with the coffee too, but maybe not from the outset.

The shop will be based in Bude, Cornwall - very touristy so hoping to tap them a bit too.

Thanks again!

Dan
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:25 | posts: 885 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_uk_1984 View Post
I asked our local PC shop for a copy of windows 8 a month after release - he didn't know what that was - I was utterly gob smacked.

haha!

Maybe he runs a cocaine factory at the back to pay all the bills.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:45 | posts: 2,568 | Location: Virginia, USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_uk_1984 View Post
Will definitely be doing repairs/servicing. That's what I'm doing for someone else at the mo. They charge 60PH! I wont be charging that much, but it will be my bread and butter basically.
Don't go to low on your labor prices, that's where you're going to make all of your money, trust me - I know. If 60PH is the going rate in your area, then don't be afraid to charge that. Great customer service is what people want and that's what will bring them back to your shop.

Be nice to everyone and take the time to listen to your customers. If you plan to hire any employees, hire people that you know you can trust.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 21:50 | posts: 44 | Location: Georgia, U.S.A

Dan, Make sure you have enough cash set aside to run the business and live on for at least 18 months. Most startup companies don't start to turn a profit for at least the first year. I have three companies right now and only one made a small profit ($15,000US) in it's first year. However it also had a very low startup cost as I didn't have to borrow any money to get it up and running.

I know this is the boring side of it and not exactly what you asked for in your post, but money management is the most important part of it.

Plow everything you earn back in to the business and plan on living off savings and rice and beans for supper for a while. Goodluck. There's nothing better than being your own boss.

Last edited by DAWG1; 05-10-2013 at 21:52.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 22:09 | posts: 24,315 | Location: Hampshire UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_uk_1984 View Post
I guess that's why they added the "multi-quote" button - Oops!

Some brill ideas. Tempted with the coffee too, but maybe not from the outset.

The shop will be based in Bude, Cornwall - very touristy so hoping to tap them a bit too.

Thanks again!

Dan
oh I'll pop in next time I'm driving to Newquay. Bude is lovely! Good luck man.
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 22:13 | posts: 2,847 | Location: Evans Ga,USA

Agree with everyone...

@Dan, something tells me your gonna do good...
   
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Default 05-10-2013, 22:29 | posts: 485 | Location: United Kingdom

An advertising budget.
   
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