Power to the People - PC Retail

Power to the People

RET made its name with refurbished laptops and PCs, but with its new Power Squared line of batteries it looks set to add a significant new string to its bow. Rob Power takes a closer look?
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At one stage or another, every laptop owner has had some sort of battery or power lead issue which has proved either difficult and cost-prohibitive to solve, or completely unfixable, rendering the machine useless.

With the recent launch of its all-new Power Squared brand of AC adaptors and batteries, RET looks set to make these types of problems a thing of the past.

Established in 1999, RET made its name refurbishing IT equipment, taking used hardware from banks and corporate clients to then refurbish and sell on to the dealer market. Thanks to its work in this area of the market, a significant discovery was made that led to the unveiling of the company's latest brand at the recent Channel Expo.

"Around three years ago we found ourselves having to buy an awful lot of AC adaptors and batteries, as well as components, so we felt there was a growing market for them in the UK," comments RET's Nik Hilliard.

"When we searched the UK market, the only two choices were either cheap rubbish or very expensive solutions, so we realised the rest of the industry must be having the same problem."

RET began working with major manufacturers to put together a complete solution to the power supply needs of the market. "We work with most of the top factories now, as well as direct with a lot of manufacturers," continues Hilliard. "We have a complete range of batteries and ACs for about 12,000 different models at the moment. We should reach about 20,000 models within the next month."

As a result, it would seem that RET is now well positioned to reap the rewards of its logical approach to problem solving. "We put the product out through the product channel, so it's all independent dealers," adds Hilliard.

"Dealers can sign up to become a PowerSquared authorised reseller, which costs them absolutely nothing and they don't have to take any stock. Because there are so many models, we'll 'back to back' it for them, and we only charge £2.50 for delivery either to them or their customer.

"We also do point of sale bits and pieces, including a stand which dealers can stock product on if they want to. It really encourages people to speak to the retailer. They might never have realised there was a someone around who could provide a battery
for their five-year-old Toshiba laptop, but we usually can."

"From our point of view it's something that encourages business for retailers once it's in store. We have had retailers say that nobody has asked for this sort of product, but largely that is because people don't know it's out there. We cover just about every manufacturer you can think of."

Additionally, there are a few perks to the Power Squared package that have already proven popular with dealers who have taken on the brand. A thirteen-month warranty, allowing dealers to get the product in and then back out to customers whilst still providing a year's cover, is certainly a bonus, whilst the product is extremely competitive in price, as well as having the benefits of high quality construction.

"There are competitors on the market, but they are either extremely expensive or provide sub-standard product," says Hilliard. "We sit smack in the middle – we have a good product with a very low return rate, but at a sensible price."

So with its well-positioned, customer-facing product rapidly gaining momentum with dealers and sure to make a huge impact with a customer base always on the lookout for simple solutions to niggling hardware issues, RET seems to be onto a winner with Power Squared.

"The response we have had so far has been excellent," concludes Hilliard. "We have already signed up well over 100 resellers. We're looking to get around 300 Power Squared resellers across the market sectors, from retailer to reseller. We want to increase the number of products we do, including things like higher capacity batteries and external batteries."

As Power Squared makes its presence felt on the market, it's certainly worth keeping an eye out for the brand that could save customers a world of parts-ordering pain – as well as providing an excellent line for resellers.

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