Straight and Direct - PC Retail

Straight and Direct

PCR speaks with Buy IT Direct's managing director Nick Glynne
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Laptops Direct was founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of Huddersfield based supplier Buy It Direct to be the specialist etailer and distributor of its growing laptop portfolio.

Buy It Direct has a proven record in turning around failing businesses and returning them to profitability and the company now employs 100 staff with an annual turnover of £80 million. Its three main customer groups are consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the education sector.

Buy It Direct's managing director Nick Glynne has attributed the success to good cash management, a focus on good products and special offers, simplicity and a fanatical level of customer care.

Operating primarily through its dedicated web portal, Laptops Direct offers a very broad range of products at aggressive prices.

"We have a specialist buying team which is able to buy the products at highly competitive prices," says Glynne. "We pass these savings down the line, which means that our customers can be assured that they're getting the best price point possible. In many cases, our resellers can get better prices than they would from the distributors.

"The pricing is a key focus for us, we want to offer the most competitive prices that we can. Other retailers will offer a few selected products with one or two deals whereas, as a specialist supplier, we can offer a massive range of products and offer all the deals that are of the most benefit to our customers."

As well as competitive pricing, Glynne also feels that the standard of customer service that Laptops Direct offers is another key to driving sales.

"We have a great sales team who can help our customers identify exactly what kind of computer they need and give them the information they need to make the most of their money," claims Glynne. "We can ensure that people are provided with information, we can identify their needs and we can provide the products and prices to meet them."

The combination of price point and customer service has meant that Laptops Direct has enjoyed an uptake in business during the recession, and the company is expecting a 30 per cent increase in sales and corresponding revenue over the course of this year.

"It's a tough time for everyone," confirms Glynne. "People are looking harder for good bargains and so they tend to stumble across us in the course of these searches. Larger companies are going to struggle as their overheads will prevent them from offering a lower price point to cash-conscious consumers.

"We've also started to handle refurbished laptops, which can be bought and sold at lower prices but offer a much better profit margin," adds Glynne. "This something that we're encouraging our resellers to do as well, as everyone in the chain is looking to make savings where possible, and refurbished hardware is a great way to do that."

Looking forward, Laptops Direct will be continuing the strategy that has made it a successful company that has appeared in The Sunday Times Fast Track report for three consecutive years.

"Our parent firm is a constantly expanding company that offers simple solutions to specific markets," says Glynne. "It recently launched Servers Direct, another online portal that will provide small businesses with low cost server and network technology. It also offers IT support as part of the package including installation, data migration and ongoing management.

"Laptops Direct is always going to focus on laptops, and the products are our primary concern," concludes Glynne. "We're always going to have the best product ranges and the most competitive pricing; all we need to do is make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the best value they can, through our channels.

"There's no real need to change our strategy at this point, we're still making great profit margins, and we've got a market beating business model. We're looking forward to the future."

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