Laura Barnes spoke to Retail Manager Craig Wyles about Total Computing’s push into the ecommerce market, attracting customers to make return visits and how important it is to evolve with the market.
Can you tell us how and when the company started up?
Established in 1998, Total Computing opened to provide home and business users with a wide range of products and services from a single company.
Outstanding customer service, high quality products and exceptional value are what Total delivers consistently and reliably.
What lessons did you learn early on?
Customer service is key. Repeat business is the answer. People will pay a little more to shop locally as long as the sales people are honest, understanding, polite and helpful.
Also, it is important that sales staff have the knowledge to back up what they are selling.
How have your customers changed over the years?
Since we have pushed into the e-commerce market, our customers have shifted from the ‘regulars’ – people who would return for a friendly chat and helpful advice through trust – to dealing with a much larger cross section of the general public, which is mainly price-driven.
That said, we do still have many of our regular customers that prefer the one-to-one experience which can provide them with the personal touch they look for.
You offer a number of services from repairs to web hosting. Did you always intend for the company to have many strings to its bow or was it more of a case of having to diversify?
I think that realistically all of our services were options we could inevitably provide, we just adapted when it was required. A retail store such as this has to evolve with the market.
I think on a basic level, if it could turn a reasonable profit, then it was worth trying.
How much does competition from big online retailers affect sales?
With regards to a lot of products, we do find that we can’t always compete with some of the larger online sellers, but we push our great customer service and after-sales support.
This can in turn sway the customer to purchase from us, as opposed to just buying something based on whether it has the best price or not.
What’s been your biggest growth area recently?
E-commerce, it has provided a much larger audience for us.
Does the business benefit from engagement with social media?
We have only recently started getting involved with Facebook advertising and so far we have found a mediate interest in it, but certainly any type of online marketing helps.
What do you have planned for the company over the next year?
Lots of changes. We’re going to be focusing far more on e-commerce and pushing that side of the business, as well bolstering our support for both small to medium businesses.
Do you have any advice for new businesses starting out?
A customer is not a customer until they return a second time, take care of each member of the public through your door, and treat your customer how you would like to be treated.
Going that extra mile now and making a little extra effort with them will help ensure they return.
Year established: 1998
Number of outlets: 1
Number of staff: 9 ????
Contact name and address: Unit 21 Burrel Road, St Ives, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire,
Telephone: 01480 409321