After attending this year’s PCR Boot Camp North conference and expo, Network Group’s MD, Phylip Morgan, reveals what important lessons he took away from the event.
Attending the PCR Boot Camps (North and South) is one of the highlights of my tech calendar. The opportunity to gain insights on trends, learn from other people and make new contacts, as well as meet with old friends, is one I enjoy. If you haven’t attended then you really are missing out.
The overall mood of this year’s Boot Camp North was very positive. Carl West of market research company GfK shared buoyant figures showing our sector up six per cent and confidence riding at an all time high. However, there was a lot of advice on what retailers and distributors alike should be improving upon for 2016.
Here are the three key things I learnt by attending this year’s PCR Boot Camp North:
1. Retailers must get better at selling services
The presentation from Microsoft re-enforcing their mobile first, cloud first strategy once again reminds indies that they need to evolve into selling services more strongly.
This was also the message this year’s Boot Camp South and retailers who want to differentiate themselves from the etailers, grocers and chain stores will do well to use services as their weapon to beat the competition.
2. Distributors must get better at communication
Was it me or was the distributor panel session like watching four rabbits in the headlights? I found it interesting how all four senior exec’s struggled to answer the question from a retailer who asked the panel ‘why should I buy from disties instead of big etailers who are often cheaper?’
Whilst they used the phrase of “adding value” all of them failed to communicate the key points of where they provide value in terms of them being a Bank, Warehouse and Customer Service Dept for your business – they give retailers credit lines, carry huge stock lines to save you holding inventory and provide personal account management to support your business.
3. Wearables and smart home solutions must be a strong bet
Just like how most indie retailers have jumped back into gaming – particularly gaming PCs in recent years – retailers should see wearables and smart home (or the connected home) solutions as an equally good bet too.
Anna Chang of Intel made clear that their recent partnership with Tag Heur was only the start of things to come. These products have yet to find their natural home on the High Street so indies getting their message and marketing right could take up this category quite easily and win. Think about it. Where on your local High Street would you go to buy a smartwatch or a Fitbit right now?
Similarly the opportunity for retailers to provide a smart solution for homes – wrapping up TV/AV/Wi-Fi etc. – is a real opportunity too, in my view.
Phylip Morgan is Managing Director of Network Group and has over 26 years’ business experience in the industry.