PCR speaks to 100 anonymous store owners and etailers for their thoughts on the market and how the High Street has changed over the last year…
How was business overall in 2014?
It looks like last year was a successful one for retailers, with the majority revealing that revenues were up.
Almost a quarter say their business was down year-on-year, while 15 per cent state that business in 2014 was roughly the same as it was the year prior. One retailer says: “We couldn’t have asked for any better, 2015 has also seen our reseller programme working very well.”
What was your top selling product category last year?
Repairs and services were the top selling product last year for retailers, with 24 per cent, while laptops followed with 18 per cent and components with 14 per cent.
14 per cent of retailers said other products including speakers, CCTV equipment, projectors and printing paper were some of the top selling products for 2014.
What percentage of your revenue was generated by consumer sales?
Sales to consumers were responsible for the majority of retailers’ revenue last year, with 16 per cent stating that between 80 and 90 per cent made up their revenue sales.
Some indicated that consumer sales made up 100 per cent of their revenue sales, while 16 per cent said that they didn’t sell any products at all and wouldn’t consider doing so in the future.
What percentage of your revenue was generated by B2B sales?
It is clear many retailers are now delving into the B2B market, with 49 per cent revealing that most of their sales are generated from B2B sales.The results indicated that quite a few retailers rely solely on B2B sales to make a healthy turnover, with around 10 per cent of retailers selling next to no products to consumers and home users.
Do you feel confident about your business in 2015?
It was a positive outlook for the majority of retailers, with 89 per cent revealing that they are confident about their business in 2015. Considering the tough economic climate, the outlook has improved for retailers – last year 87 per cent said that they were confident.
“I think it’s going to be very exciting for us, the way the business is moving we’re still learning and will make changes,” says one retailer. Another store owner adds: “We have already embarked on the route of new services, and part of that is bringing in cloud services.”
Of course, some were less positive, with three per cent revealing they were not confident and eight per cent saying they were not sure.
Do you offer managed services?
41 per cent of retailers say they are now using managed services as a part of their business. Many praised the additional revenue stream a subscription service can bring to their business, while others believe it helps to take the burden away from customers.
Some retailers, however, are yet to incorporate it into their business, with 59 per cent revealing they do not offer managed services.
If No, is it something you’d consider introducing this year?
Almost a quarter of retailers (23 per cent) say they will offer managed services this year, while two fifths (41 per cent) say they might introduce a subscription service at some point, as some retailers believe that the service can help to differentiate their business. However, one third of retailers who don’t offer managed services say they have no plans to introduce it (36 per cent).
What are the benefits of offering this service?
Many retailers see the benefits of offering managed services to their customers, with a common answer being the recurring revenues it generates for businesses. Others have seen competitors introduce managed services and followed suit. Here are our picks of quotes from retailers offering managed services:
“It gives us a full overview of all our computer systems and financially it’s good because we can predict our financial income every month.”
“It opens new revenue streams such as subscriptions for my business.”
“Managed services take the burden away from the business owner.”
“It compliments products and gives us more services and more opportunities to help customers.”
“It’s an interesting growth area and I envisaged that if we were to project forwards, in five years the majority of our business will be billed by subscriptions and hourly work rather than individual products.”
“It gives us higher margins and longer client protection.”
“Managed services helps us to give a better service to customers.”
“Managed services provides continuity for all of our customers.”
“Our competitors offer the service, so now we do too and it keeps customers returning.”
What do you think about Windows 10 being free in its first year?
Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users within its first year. 45 per cent of retailers say that this will have no impact on their business as many customers are still using Windows 7 and 8.
On the other hand, many see the new OS from Microsoft as a great addition to the market. 37 per cent are positive towards Windows 10 and 18 per cent are negative. Here is what some retailers had to say:
“It will be fantastic, it’s the incentive my clients will need to migrate from Windows 7.”
“I think it will dent sales as it doesn’t give anyone an incentive to buy a new laptop.”
“I can’t remember the last time I sold a Windows OS so it won’t affect us. But the amount of re-installs I do is good, so the labour will benefit us massively.”
“I think people will be encouraged to take the update and we will benefit from hardware upgrades to make the most of it.”
“I think Microsoft has made a mistake.”