Have you been dabbling with the idea of starting an eCommerce store but didn’t know where to begin? What product to sell? The profitability, the investment required, the eCommerce platform, decisions, decisions, decisions!
We hope to alleviate some of your confusion and shine some light on this dilemma of yours. The reason you’re here is because you probably have been wondering about starting a new eCommerce business and narrowed down on computers as your niche. Or you have a brick and mortar store selling computers and accessories and want to start an eCommerce website and sell your products online.
If you fall into the second category, you already know the profitability of selling computers, you need to get in the next gear now with an online store! You can skip the next section and jump to the eCommerce section of the article if you wish.
If you are in the first category, bravo! The decision to start your own business is a difficult one given the uncertainties and the investment. To start an eCommerce store is relatively a lesser risk than a full-blown physical store. The investment is a lot lesser and with dropshipping as an option, you can really cut your inventory and warehousing costs.
Now to computers as a profitable niche. We don’t need to tell you about the importance or the demand for computers. From businesses to education, hospitality to hospitals, almost everything everywhere runs on computers. So, let’s talk numbers.
Computers – a profitable niche for eCommerce
Computers and their components form a distinct category on most b2b eCommerce platforms.
A quick glance at the sales figures of the top three market leaders in computers gives us a clear picture of the profitability of this sector.
According to Statista, in the fourth quarter of 2019, Lenovo shipped 17.5 million personal computers worldwide. HP shipped 16.13 million and Dell shipped 12.11 million PCs across the world.
Overall the PC shipments totalled 70.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019 which is a 2.3% increase from the fourth quarter of 2018 (source: Gartner)
There are two relevant points to be considered here.
First, the cost of computers is high. This means a high profit per sale.
Second, the sale of computers gives you an opportunity to cross-sell its accessories and other components.
Here’s a further insight into these factors
High cost, high profits and high expectations
Computers are high-cost or high-ticket items. So your profits are high too. But, you cannot apply the same marketing strategy as small ticket items. People are quick to buy low-cost items as the risk involved is negligible.
You can mark up the price of computers at 8%, 10% or 15%. The price mark up depends on the make of the machine, dealer of the products, platform that you use to sell online, etc.
Let’s assume your margin is 10%. If your cost price is $500,
$500 + 10% = $550
If you sell 3 computers at a CP of $1500 daily your daily income becomes
$1500 * 10% = $150
Your profit per week will be
$150 * 7 days = $1050
Net profit per month
$1050 * 4 weeks = $4200
Encouraging, isn’t it? Trust me these numbers are modest. You earn more as you grow. Just be realistic in your price strategy.
What comes with a high price and the high-profit margin is customers’ high expectations.
People who buy high ticket items expect durability, warranty, fast shipping and post-sale service. Deal with reliable suppliers only. While a trustworthy supplier ensures durability and warranty, partner with reliable shipping carriers for on-time deliveries and product handling while shipping. Ensure you have top-notch post-sales service and a prompt customer care policy.
Do well with cross-sell
McDonald’s is great at cross-selling. They ask if you want fries or a drink with your burger. They offer a ‘package deal’ i.e. a meal at a lower cost than buying a burger, fries and a drink separately. Most times you say yes to the fries or the drink, even if you only wanted a burger to begin with!
Use this principle when selling a product online. Who doesn’t like to buy add-ons at a discounted rate?
Statistics say that product recommendations contribute to almost 30% of eCommerce sales.
Computer sales give you a lot of opportunities to cross-sell.
You can sell computer accessories online or offer extra warranty for an added cost once the product is added to cart. You can stimulate the customer to buy additional items, for example, keyboard, mouse, mousepad, etc.
There are algorithms that create a list of the best-suited items you can cross-sell according to the items in your customer’s cart. The list pop-ups before checkout and more often than not, the customer picks up one or more items from that list.
Your eCommerce software can give you the option of offering cross-sell information. Also, customers who buy top-of-the-line products have the capacity to spare a little more money on good quality accessories.
Get started with eCommerce
The first and the most crucial step to start your eCommerce store is to select a robust eCommerce platform. VARStreet is a name committed to providing a user-friendly and efficient platform to IT resellers.
Here are some important features to look out for while choosing an eCommerce platform:
Ecommerce is prone to phishing attacks, credit card frauds, hacking and money thefts. You don’t want any of these to happen to your business. An eCommerce platform should have an effective security management system to make sure that there are no security breaches of any kind. The platform should be compliant with the current security regulations and should run audits from time to time.
“VARStreet uses advanced security methods based on dynamic data and encoded session identifications. The platform hosts the site in a secure environment with a firewall and other advanced technologies to prevent access from unauthorized users.”
Earn your trust badges too to make your customers feel safe when they use your store for purchase.
If you’re starting an eCommerce business you may not have a big budget or staff and may have to concentrate on various aspects of the business single-handedly. In such cases, it is very important for the eCommerce platform to provide support when needed. Always ensure that there are no additional charges for basic support at the least.
“VARStreet understands that you need guidance at different steps of your growth and it offers unlimited support to sellers at no extra cost.”
Read more here.
Design and templates
The design of your store is the first impression that customers create in their minds as soon as they visit your store. A fresh and modern design with easy navigation entices consumers to ‘stick’. Your page load time is also important to reduce the bounce rate.
VARStreet helps you design your store with a variety of ready design templates and themes. There are options to customize your store as well. You can add your logo, change the colors, fonts and a lot more.
87% of shoppers say that content is a very important factor to finalize a purchase. When shoppers buy online, the touch and feel of a physical product are absent. It is the rich content on the product detail page that gives the shopper information about the product. You need good quality high-resolution images from various angles, detailed description and technical specifications.
The good news is that a VARStreet subscription comes with FREE rich content from top suppliers like Etilize and IceCat. No kidding! Check it out!
One of the biggest challenges that an IT reseller faces is the vastness of the product catalog. If you are a reseller looking to start an eCommerce store, you know how massive your product catalog is and are probably overwhelmed with the thought of updating the catalog to your eCommere store.
If you are on the cusp of an eCommerce business and want to sell computers online, you may be utterly clueless about how and where to begin sourcing and supplier connections.
Let’s address those already in business, with distributor connections, accounts, terms, et al. Most eCommerce platforms have different payment structures dependant on the size of your catalog. It is very typical of a computer reseller to have a product catalog that runs in a million products and upwards. So a run-of-the mill eCommerce platform will not be of much help and in fact be a very costly proposition. This is a disadvantage that holds many IT resellers back from setting up an eCommerce store.
“VARStreet provides a IT product catalog from 40+ distributors. The catalog is automatically imported to your store based on your distributors’ accounts. Along with this, you get an automatic update of price and availiablity.”
Once you have set up an account, the next step is to build an eCommerce store and upload your product catalog. Which brings us back to the problem we discussed earlier.
The VARStreet solution
VARStreet’s eCommerce platform is the best suited to sell computers online. We started as a quotation and CRM application for IT and office supplies value-added resellers (VARs). We have evolved over the years and offer a complete business solution with a top-notch eCommerce platform added to our product portfolio.
What set’s us apart? Amongst other things, we have connections with over 40 distributors including the ones we mentioned before i.e. Ingram Micro and TechData.
If you have an account with any of these distributors, your product catalog is automatically pulled into your eCommerce store, with the prices, rich content, etc. All you have to do is design your store, set up rules, etc and start selling!
Nothing sells without marketing. In eCommerce, where people do not see your products before they are purchased and delivered to them, the entire game shifts towards marketing to a great extent. Multichannel presence of eCommerce needs multiple ways of marketing like email marketing campaigns, social media marketing, etc.
“The product catalog from VARStreet can be seamlessly imported to other marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, Newegg, etc.
VARStreet also allows you to sync your products to social media .”
A lot of eCommerce platforms appear to be extremely cheap only to have hidden costs for extra services. For example, a platform that advertises itself as only $30 monthly, will definitely have a clause to restrict the number of items you can list on it. The subscription charge then increases as your product catalog expands.
Like we mentioned earlier, if you want to sell computers and accessories online, this arrangement will take your costs through the roof!
Make sure to read the fine print about the subscription cost, transaction fee, etc. before you start. Choose a platform that helps you to reduce your cost to the business.
“VARStreet has no hidden charges. Sell a hundred products or a thousand, pay the same”!
We live in an era of e-procurement, multichannel sales and marketing. That is why integrations are an important feature to have in an eCommerce platform. You have to ensure that the information on your store can be integrated with other platforms or applications you use for accounting, procurement or customer management.
“ VARStreet helps you automate and integrate your key business processes thereby reducing the operational cost”.
Computers are the most used machines in every field and our dependency on computers is only increasing. It is a very profitable eCommerce niche albeit you get the basics right.
Partner with reliable distributors and choose the right eCommerce platform for your online computer store. Give your customers an enjoyable online experience, make it easy for them to search and buy your products online. Offer good customer service.
With VARStreet’s eCommerce Solution, you can start your eCommerce store with ease and perfection. VARStreet is a user-friendly platform where you can sell IT devices like computers, laptops, monitors, and desktops.