Apple reseller AT Computers sells DJ equipment and audio gear alongside the usual Macs, iPads and accessories. Retail operations manager Ryan Hanke tells Jade Burke more – and why the business may use augmented reality…
As an Apple reseller, what’s your relationship like with the tech giant?
It used to be a lot more complex because we were previously a premium reseller, so there was a lot of limitations on what we could do and how we could do it. Now we are just a reseller, we get a lot more leeway. So we can display, show things, look and talk how we want.
Our relationship with Apple is very good. We deal mainly on education with them. They’ve got a big education drive currently, so our other end of the company that deals with education has a better relationship with them than we do with the retail side of things.
How and when did the business begin?
My store opened six years ago, but the company has been running for about 25 years originally. It was originally based in Tewkesbury and AT Computers was one of the first resellers, I believe.
What services do you offer in store?
We sell Macs, iPads and accessories, and we do repairs. We also offer training, which I think is the biggest strength we have. We do a lot of one-to-one training with customers and teach the basics of how to navigate an iPad, for example how to email. On a Mac we teach things like word processing with the applications that you wouldn’t usually use, like Pages.
What specific products do you sell to your customers?
We mainly sell Apple hardware, but we do a lot of third-party accessories, such as cases for iPhones and iPads, headphones, battery backups, cables and cases for Mac books – you name it, we pretty much do it. We sell a lot of DJ equipment as well; we’re moving into the audio sector.
There is a new YourTime service coming, can you tell me a little more about that? That’s our training website and it’s currently going through the final process of being changed. YourTime is our training service that we offer in all the stores.
What is competition like for you as an Apple reseller?
There’s massive competition. In our local area there’s not a lot. We’ve got a PC World, but I wouldn’t really say they’re competition anymore as they don’t specialise in anything.
As for companies like ours there must be about seven or eight different ones just in the UK. Resellers and premium resellers are huge because Apple can’t get the amount of stores they’d like, so we get to fill in the blanks for them.
You had your own stand at BETT this year. Was that your first time exhibiting?
No, we have been doing it for years. We are probably one of the biggest education resellers in the UK.
Do you work with many schools in your area?
We do. Just in Worcester we deal with one school called RGS, and they have started doing a thing called ‘One-to- one with iPads’, which means that every student has an Apple iPad.
The schools come and buy them from us in our store and get a slight discount for buying from us. That’s why we try and get out there and explain to them that iPads are brilliant, not just for every day use but for learning as well. They’re a great learning aid.
Will you be stocking the Apple Watch when it launches this year?
All going well, we will do, and I think it will be a massive product. It’s probably the first real smart watch that people are going to want, have a look at and use. If they make it the right price it will be really popular.
Looking ahead, what plans do you have for the future of the business?
Augmented reality is another sector we are looking at focusing on, and how we can start doing that with schools. I think it’s a case of just keep doing what we’re doing and doing it well. Education is our big one and as a business we are just making sure that we can keep the high standard that we currently have.
Year established: 2009
Three Number of staff: 18
Address: 57 Broad Street Worcester WR1 3LY
Telephone: 01905 617832