Retailer to convert technology into cash

Retailer to convert technology into cash

Australia's largest retailer of second-hand goods, Cash Converters, is set to make a major push into selling computer and communication equipment.

The company has already secured a deal with Vodafone to sell mobile phone equipment, but that will be just the beginning.

Cash Converters' franchise network currently extends to 154 outlets nationally and services over 100,000 customers per week, according to managing director Peter Cumins. He said that while there are no plans to shift away from its core business of buying and selling second-hand goods, future expansion depends on being able to introduce complementary products and services to what is already being sold.

Cumins said each store sells an average of about three used computers per week and that add-on sales of software, peripherals, Internet services, fax machines, phones and phone connection plans is a natural progression.

"We have had talks with companies like Microsoft about selling their products and will definitely be expanding on the Vodafone agreement we have already secured," said Cumins.

"A real advantage Cash Converters can bring to rising consumer demand for IT and communications products is in allowing people to trade in anything they own of value for a phone or a computer and maybe even new software or peripherals in the future," he added.

"Mobile phones from Philips, and prepaid smart cards and connection plans from Vodafone are just the tip of the iceberg."

While Cumins doesn't envisage his sites ever becoming computer superstores, he is developing strategies on the type of technology products and services that would offer "synergy with Cash Converters' core business.

"What we are trying to do is build a product and service range that complements the second-hand computers and communications products we already sell," said Cumins.

"We are working on the theory that if a customer comes in to buy a used computer, we should also be selling them some software to run on it, some peripherals to enhance it and maybe even an Internet connection as well.

"To bring additional traffic into our stores to see what we offer, it is only logical to make our franchise network available to other distributors," Cumins added.

In most cases, software licensing agreements require Cash Converters to clear hard disks before a computer is on-sold unless they are supplied with all the original paperwork, boxes and licence numbers.

As this is not always available, Cumins wants to have specialist staff who will be able to add that component to the sale as well as other extras like Internet connections.

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