Is online selling a threat or opportunity?

PCR Retail Boot Camp: ‘Online Selling’ panel discussion

The second panel session of Wednesday’s PCR Retail Boot Camp delved into the hot topic of online selling, and the panel discussed whether it should be seen as an opportunity or a threat.

The panel consisted of Mark Banfield (Autotask), Shane Redding (Cyance), Steven Lightfoot (Pudsey Computers), and Phil Meacham (Synaxon). Once again the session was chaired by Adam Harris from CompTIA, who got the ball rolling by asking the audience whether they believed online selling was a threat or opportunity. It appeared that 99 per cent of the audience was adamant that it should be seen an opportunity.

The first question put to the panel was: ‘If a reseller hasn’t yet moved to selling online and wants to do so, what can they expect?’

Phil Meacham suggested that the first thing that needs to be thought about is the customer, and whether the company wants to sell to businesses, consumers or both. Shane Redding built on this point by adding that a business has to know exactly what and whom it is aiming for. “When people click on your website they have to know straight away what your target it.” Added Redding.

Adam Harris then asked the panel a question that had come in from a specific person in the audience: ‘I’ve done well by selling online so is it viable to get rid of the bricks and mortar store and sell online only?’

There was a mix between the panel, which discussed the pros and cons of online only stores. “There is a big market for people researching online and buying offline,” commented Phil Meacham. Steven Lightfoot added: “This is true, if you go online then you have to prove to vendors that you’re different. But the cost are low…”

The next subject on the list was all about how to find the right target. Shane Redding explained that she thought it all came down to data. “If you go online you can collect more data, giving you a huge insight into who your customers are and what you can do,” said Redding. Mark Banfield added: “That’s right, we use software to collect data and it is priceless. We can see how many times a page is clicked and what products are being looked at or ignored.”

‘What can we learn from the big players in the market that we can take into our own business?’ was the next question put to the panel. “Find where the bar is, then make sure you’re on it, or above it,” commented Phil Meacham. The rest of the panel agreed with this statement, with Shane Redding added: “Copy the best; I’m very much an advocate of that.”

The final topic of the session was all about what companies can do to leverage the opportunity of online selling. “Make it easy for customers, so many website are difficult to use,” suggested Mark Banfield. The final comment of the session was from Steven Lightfoot who gave a clear and concise strategy: “Plan, strategise, create a mission statement, and implement it in whatever you do.”

PCR Retail Boot Camp, powered by Innergie, is an exciting new conference and expo for the UK PC and IT channel.

Supporting the PCR Retail Boot Camp are Innergie (Headline Partner), Micro-P (Connected Home Partner), GData, VIP Computers, Arctic, Westcoast, Lygo/Turtle Beach, EntaTech, ESET and Zotac/Kuoda (Platinum Partners), plus AVG, AOC, Philips, Avance Technologies, Computers Unlimited, Koch Media, Autotask, Samsung, TP Link, Wasp, Synaxon, Realtime Distribution, Avance, Cisco and Hama (Gold Partners).

CompTIA, Brigantia and the Network Group are also Associate Partners of the event.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter feed @PCRBootcamp.

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