Strategies to Effectively Market a Computer Hardware Store and Deal With Competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan

February 9, 2023

 

The building of computers has become a massive hobby for tech enthusiasts. A lot of people view computers as utilitarian machines that can be bought directly from a store but there is a growing section of society that enjoys the process of building their own computers. 

It’s almost like an electronic game of legos, where each part can be worth hundreds of dollars. 

It takes a bit of skill, but it can be extremely rewarding to research parts, learn about their optimal combination, find or wait for good deals and then buy and assemble the parts together. The feeling of hitting the power button for the first time is one that every PC builder remembers forever. 

While online stores continue to be very successful, there are quite a few situations where people prefer to buy from brick-and-mortar stores. A primary reason would be the immediate availability and convenience of being able to walk in, grab all the parts needed and walk out of the store within half an hour or so. 

Compare this to buying online, where parts can take a few days to arrive and may sometimes not come all at once, and it’s easy to see how brick-and-mortar stores still have some charm. Sadly, there are some areas in the U.S. where a lack of good computer stores forces people to buy online. 

PC Hardware stores that open up in such areas will find themselves poised for great sales if they know how to market themselves effectively. Grand Rapids is one such city with a surprising lack of good PC hardware stores. 

Today, we are going to explore what steps a prospective business owner of a PC store would need to take in order to market his or her business effectively.

 

Conduct Research on Market Demand

 

A strong online/offline presence is essential for any business, and computer hardware stores are no exception. One thing that all business owners must realize is that they face competition from established brands like Amazon and NewEgg. 

These companies have an almost unlimited budget that allows them to be very effective in their marketing. 

For your business to be successful, you will have to create an online and offline presence that approaches matters uniquely. For some ideas, consider spending some time on PC-building communities like Reddit’s r/buildapc subreddit or the many discord servers dedicated to the hobby.

Find online communities, such as the subreddit of Grand Rapids (or any city that you want to market towards.) You will often find people talking about their preferences, and this information can be invaluable to know as a business owner. 

Gaining insight into what local customers expect from stores like Amazon or NewEgg is super important and can help you pivot your strategy to satisfy their unmet needs. 

Once you are able to find the pulse of your target audience, it’s just a matter of increasing the awareness of your store so that they can find you. 

 

SEO and Content Marketing

 

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a technique that several businesses and websites use to increase their online search rankings. You know how when you search for something, you get a list of results with hundreds of pages? 

How frequently do you go past the second or third page? 

Not very often, right?

Exactly.

Optimizing your website can help raise its position on search results so that customers can find it easily. Finding a Grand Rapids SEO service that can help your business is something worth looking at. 

How would it help? 

Well, let’s say a customer wanted to buy a graphics card. Amazon and other sites don’t have it in stock, and the customer needs it fast.

This person might search for “Computer hardware stores in Grand Rapids, MI,” in the hopes of finding a store nearby. If your site was SEO optimized, there would be a very good chance that your business would appear higher up in Google’s search list. 

As you can imagine, multiple people finding your page would greatly boost the traffic you get on your website.

Once you have the customer on your website, things get much easier. They will notice the unique offers and deals you provide, which they can’t find on your competitor’s websites and stores, and this will increase the chances of a purchase being made from your business.

This is a good time to also plan out the type of deals and offers you should provide. 

 

Providing Offers, Promotions, and Discounts

 

It is difficult for most businesses to undercut the prices found in e-retail giants like Amazon or NewEgg. However, it is very much possible to win customers over through other services or offerings. These can often make shopping at your store a better deal, even if other factors favor your competitors. 

Some examples of unique offers and services include:

In-Store Expertise: Try to have an employee on hand who can act as an expert for providing technical support and repair services if your customers have any issues with their products. 

This can be a great reason for people to choose your store, as the extent of Amazon’s support is either getting a return or a refund. The ability to fix unique problems adds massive value to your business. 

Price Matching: The main advantage of stores like Amazon is their competitive prices. By matching their prices (At least on some items, if not all), you effectively negate their primary advantage

Providing a guarantee that you will price match your competition increases the chance of a customer choosing your services. This is especially true when they consider all the other benefits you are offering. 

In-Store Demos: One of the greatest downsides of online stores like Amazon is that you can’t really try before you buy. Sure, you can buy – try and return, but it is a much longer and tiresome process.

Allowing customers to try out products before they buy them can be incredibly helpful. 

Of course, this may not be possible with certain components, but you can still set up computers with different configurations such as an “ Entry Level PC,” “Mid-Range PC,” and an “Enthusiast PC” to allow customers to experience what sort of performance they can expect with different hardware combinations.

 

Conclusion

Grand Rapids is a city that has a lot of scope for the computer hardware market. Being flexible and able to adapt to counter moves by existing competition (even if not many) will be key in ensuring your success. Remember that successful marketing involves quite a bit of effort, and it can take some time to see results. 

Designing your physical store’s operation model in line with the technological changes of recent years is critical, and having some capital to push through the initial dry periods will be important until your business starts picking up.  

By utilizing the different strategies we discussed in this article, it is very much possible to attract and retain customers even if it seems like the big E-retailers have a firm chokehold on the market. 

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