To go or not to go: Resellers examine PC96

To go or not to go: Resellers examine PC96


Lurking round the periphery of PC96 were the smaller stands where the few resellers that displayed at the show were to be found. Those who were there to maximise the exposure the show offered them seemed by and large to be happy. Those who went expecting commercial success were disappointed. Who was there, why were they there, and what did they think of the show?


Mark Kofahl, marketing director

Q: What's your impression of the show?

A: I haven't had a good look at the show yet as we're exhibiting, but I think there's a lot more emphasis this year on the Internet. Last year the Internet was emerging but it was still a multimedia-oriented show. This year a lot of stands are oriented towards the Internet which is good for us. I think there'll be a lot of new consumers coming to the show this year because of the Internet. The Internet has opened up a lot of new possibilities for the PC.

Q: What were your reasons for coming this year? Did you sacrifice margins in order to be here?

A: We're not selling at a loss at the show. Various manufacturers offered some quite good show specials to stalls like ourselves, which are also available to resellers. The exposure to resellers particularly makes it worthwhile to be at the show. They like to see what's new.

Harvey Norman Auburn

Frank Robinson, proprietor

Q: What do you think of the show?

A: We like the show because it gives us a lot of business, gets our name out there. It's an opportunity for us to go crazy for four days.

Q: You're offering a lot of substantial discounts. Do you end up losing money?

A: No. We don't lose money. It's about just getting the suppliers involved. The suppliers support us really well. We slim our margin, they slim their margin - it's exposure. We don't lose out; it's good for us.

Q: Are you finding that your customer base at the show is comprised of resellers or end- users?

A: Most of our show customers are just ordinary end-users - a lot of corporate people. That's important for us right now. We're developing a Harvey Norman direct concept which is corporate. We do a lot of lead generation through the show.

Interesting info: Robinson said that Harvey Norman pioneered retail selling at the PC show. "We had some problems at first," he said, describing how Harvey Norman's first stand was inaccessible. "The organisers weren't very keen to have us. But now they love us."

Fairstar Computer Centre

Wally Muhieddine, director

Q: What do you think of the show?

A: I think it's been very very good. There's a lot of traffic, a lot of customers, a lot of interest in what's latest and what's new, so I think it's very successful. It's bigger than last year. It's certainly better than last year.

Q: Did you have to operate at a loss for the exposure?

A: It's all about exposure. It's not about making money. You need to offer good prices to reach people. It's all about being out there and being seen to have good deals. We got very special deals [from distributors] for the show.

Q: What has your customer profile been like?

A: We've had lots of end-users at the stall. There have been very few dealers coming to our stall.

Interesting info: Muhieddine told ARN, "I think that resellers are no longer the main focus of the show. I've noticed that over the last few years. I think more and more it's a retail customer-based show and I think it's going to become more like that. The show will be more for the end-user rather than the distributor."

Polaroid Computing (Electronic imaging division of Polaroid.)Mike Wills, Sales ManagerQ: What do you think of the show?

A: We've been doing shows since '87 and this is the biggest one I've seen.

Q: What is your purpose for being here?

A: In the past we set up our resellers to sell at the show, but it's very hard to get resellers to commit to four long days at a show like this when they've got a business outside of here to run as well. So we're working for them at the show and we're passing on the profit.

Interesting info: "We've really centered the stand to focus on two main product areas: Iomega's range of storage devices and fractal design software. We generally only sell to resellers," he said, but explained that Polaroid Computing was selling to customers at the show. "While we are processing sales, we'll pass on the margins of these sales among a number of local resellers," said Wills. "If I was selling direct I wouldn't have the same commitment from the resellers as I do today."

Software For You

Elaine Yem, manager

Q: What do you think of the show this year?

A: It's a lot bigger, but sales-wise it's not as good as last year.

Q: What was your purpose for coming to the show?

A: We didn't come expecting to make money but obviously we'd like to. We tried to have normal retail prices. But if you go around and someone is cheaper than you, you just have to match the price.

Interesting info: Software For You offered a PC96 special. It discounted its software by 5 per cent off the list price, excluding specials or clearance titles.

Amadeus Computers

Mark King, director

Q: What do you think of the show?

A: This is the first year we've been and it hasn't met our expectations yet. We haven't made enough money.

Q: What's your reason for being here?

A: We were expecting to sell a bit cheaper but still to make a big enough profit margin.

Q: Who are your customers here?

A: Half end-users and half resellers.

Interesting info: "We won't be back next year if we don't make some more sales," King declared.

Amadeus Computers sells PC video equipment and software.

TLE Data and Communications

Dale Wilson, product specialist

Q: How is the show going?

A: There's been a tremendous response.

Q: Why have you come to the show this year?

A: We're at the show to get a new client base. We've had people going to our opposition so it's good that they are coming to look at our product to compare it with what they're buying now. That's our main reason for coming to the show. It's not so much to sell stuff on the stand, which we only do with a couple of items. We're here mainly to get the clientele in.

Q: Did you get any special deals yourselves to enable you to offer show specials?

A: There were no special prices from manufacturers and distributors because it's not really a selling thing for us.

Q: Who have the majority of your customers been?

A: Our clients at the show are mainly networkers. We 're getting end-users as well, and also contractors - people who install.

Creative Distraction Multimedia Centre

Ben Browning, managing director

Q: What is your impression of the show?

A: It's been a very exciting show. There have been a lot of new releases this year.

Q: What's your main purpose for being here?

A: We retail multimedia and publishing systems to corporate buyers and educational buyers, and we want essentially to raise our profile, to meet our customers face to face, to see them again, establish contacts and build up leads.

Paw Products

Paula Granelli, director

Q: What is your comment on the show?

A: It's been a very civilised show. We've been very busy.

Q: What's your reason for coming to PC96?

A: We came for both exposure and to make a bit of money. We've always been involved in the show to lift our profile within the computer world. And we also try to increase sales for the week.

Q: Are you cutting your margins to be here?

A: We were offered special show prices from our distributors.

Q: What has your customer profile been like at the show?

A: Our customers have been everyone from end-users to large corporations. People are just shopping for themselves a lot of the time.

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