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How to Use a PC Configurator

Posted On - 24/03/2017 07:49:43

PC Configurators mean anyone, anywhere can build a working computerConfigurators are for building computers, right? Well… no. That's what they do - it's not what they're for. The clue to what configurators are for's in how they came about.

Ecommerce spawned them. Delivered through the web they're software that codifies your expertise. And make it possible for anyone to build a computer. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow. They just logon the website, follow the process, pay the bill and wait for the box.

Make no mistake, configurators eliminate you. So why if we only serve the trade do we think they're a good idea?!

Why do your customers choose you?

Notice the underlines? They're deliberate. Now, while the market for computer sales and services is broad, you can roughly chunk it four ways.

There are those who know enough to make their own choices and are happy to buy online. Next those who don't and aren't. Then there's those unsure about making choices but OK online and lastly those who are but aren't.

You did follow that? If you did well done! But seriously the point is this. While it's unlikely you'll ever convert those that don't need help, you're just right for the other three. While it's unlikely you'll convince one you're what they need, for the rest you're right up their street.

If the cap fits

What is it that makes you so special? What makes you the choice for the majority? Because you're the very thing they need – an expert they can talk to and get advice. Someone they can trust to give them the reassurances they need.

It's these things customers ‘buy' when they choose you. And it's these things that are your competitive advantages. You've just got to sell them to customers. You've just got to make sure they see and experience them. The question is how?

Online configurators work, but not for everyone

It didn't take us much effort to find thirteen online PC configurators - they seem pretty popular. But you have to ask why because of the way ecommerce works.

The web has been built on selling goods and services not previously sold through retail outlets or transactional sales of stuff easily shipped or downloaded – see our series "The Internet is Broken" for a great deal more on this.

Catalogue sales, banking and insurance, TV licenses, books, music, films - 66% of this category now sells online. For in-store retailing – worth 15 times non-store - the figure is just 8%. That's one hell of a difference – there must be good reason.

Low hanging fruit

But won't the 8% correct over time? Won't the difference just equal out? After all, with 15 times the market to go after and all those sharp ‘tech' minds there's huge incentive to crack it, no?

Doubtful: ecommerce growth rates have plummeted from a peak of 33.5% in 2007 to forecast 8.3% for 2019. Penetration of in-store retailing is stubbornly difficult. Why? Because the sale of this category doesn't suit online.

Aside from logistics practicalities, people want to see and touch what they're buying – they want to talk to store assistants. They can't do that through a website! And chat facilities do little – you're still not talking to a person. You can't see them or their body language, you can't experience your shopping. As for selling custom build computers online? The web just isn't the best way to do it. That's why online PC configurators only work for some. The ones that really know what they're doing and are happy to spend large sums online.

You love making sales, but how much do you enjoy selling?

There's an entirely different way to use a configurator. More than just a way of checking compatibilities and making certain builds work, a small lateral jump will mean you think about them in a new way.

It's a new way of using a configurator that'll reassure and help prospects you meet. And a way that'll demonstrate your competence right in front of their eyes. It's you using a configurator with your customers – it's you ‘driving' it for them.

But why would you do that – you know what you're doing? You don't need a configurator to tell you and make you look stupid! Think about it, using a configurator doesn't do any of that. In fact using one to hand-hold and lead the customer through a build says the very opposite. It shows you're professional.

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