After expanding into cloud services and B2B, Garry Stonehouse wants to include home automation kits within the retail side of his business for 2015. Jade Burke finds out more about his plans for his store…
How has the company changed since we last spoke to you?
We’re doing less on the consumer side and we’re pushing a lot more on the business to business side. We got involved in the cloud, reselling Google Apps and we also started doing maintenance contracts. They seem very popular, but they are more beneficial for us because they give us a regular monthly income.
What services and repairs do you carry out in store?
We do in-store repairs for consumers, we have a consumer retail shop and we also have a consumer workshop. We do other general PC repairs such as broken screens on laptops. We also have an ad hoc service, where customers will ring us when they’ve got a problem and we’ll go to the site and fix it.
Following the New Year, are there any new products you’ll stock?
We’re looking very closely at all this wearable tech. That’s obviously the next up and coming thing. There’s fairly limited scope for us in the wearable market at the moment though, because those are all purchased direct from the manufacturers.
What are the challenges of being a retailer and selling apps to businesses?
We find it quite easy, but the challenges for retail are the same challenges that we’ve always had, in that there are extremely low margins on selling hardware, so you’ve got to be able to have a range of services to sell as well. So not only do we sell the laptops to the consumer, we’re also selling them set-up services, online back-up services and anti-virus as well.
Do you think it’s important to stock cloud products as they become more popular?
If you don’t move with the times you’re going to get left behind. That’s always been a case in our industry and it’s no different with cloud services as well. You’ve got to be up there because there are people who are looking for that type of service. It’s no good saying: “We don’t offer that, we can’t help you.” The customer walks out of the door empty handed, and that’s the last thing you want.
After PCR Boot Camp North are you making any changes to your business this year?
Yes, we want to change our approach to our customers and get as much out of them as we possibly can. We’re already looking at buying in some home automation kits, because that’s something that we’re not doing at the moment and none of our competitors are. The rest of it was just really insightful and interesting.
Do you attend many industry events and find them helpful?
I attend as many as I possibly can, I do find them very useful. I think it’s one thing that a lot of independents fail to see the value of, which is getting away from your business for the day and hearing what other people have to say, seeing how other people do it and what their thoughts and views are on the state of the marketplace.
Where do you see Gbiz IT going in the next few years?
I see us increasing our B2B side, taking on more staff and I think our retail side will stay static. I don’t think we’ve got much scope for expanding that above and beyond what it is, so in order to grow the business we need to grow the other areas of it.
Year established: 1995
Number of stores: 1
Number of staff: 5
Address: 9 The Wynd, Marske, TS11 7LD
Telephone: 01642 477200