Notebook Line Marks Fundamental Shift at Schrock Innovations
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- Written on: July 23rd, 2006
If you fail to ride the wave of change you will find yourself beneath it. For the past 4 weeks that overused motivational phrase has been my compass as all of the employees of Schrock from our web developers to our technicians have come together to launch a new chapter in Schrock Innovations history.
As many of you may have heard on the radio Saturday, I launched Schrock’s 2006 Back to School Sale. For the first time ever, we are now carrying notebook computers in stock. While I could bore you with all of the logistics and reasons we have not done this in the past, I think it is much more interesting to explain why it is important for the future.
It is common knowledge that the price of computer hardware has been on a downward spiral for years now. There are actually places you can buy a desktop tower system for a mere $299 on occasion. Schrock has never claimed to be the least expensive PC maker in town, but we do pride ourselves on having the best service and support. For the past few years we have catered to individuals who are willing to pay a few extra dollars to have a local, trusted source for help and support. I understand that is what makes us special and that will never change.
The challenge we have faced (and will face moving into the future) is that declining margins on desktop computers will make it difficult to pay for our high levels of support. We had to find some way to increase the number of computers we were selling per year, or we would be in a long-term pinch. Last year we started making efforts to capture more market share by reducing our desktop prices, offering additional features not available elsewhere, and heavily promoting our service after the sale.
Despite these efforts, our sale of desktop computers only rose slightly. It was becoming clear that if we wanted to increase our volume we would have to expand our product line to encompass more computing options than desktops alone. Because we did not have the buying power of the big box stores, it was difficult to promote a particular laptop at a particular price because we never knew when it would be discontinued or fall into shortage.
Someone once told me that you don’t do something because you think you can’t. I thought we couldn’t carry notebook computers in stock, so we did our best to special order them as our established customers asked for them. We had the opportunity to order an Acer notebook for one of our customers, and I was impressed at the features, the look, and the feel of their product. Best of all, the price was comparable to what you would pay at the big box stores, so my customer was very pleased with her purchase. I started to look into Acer after that to determine if there was any way we could become an authorized reseller and carry their products in stock. After working with our regional representative I quickly learned why Acer was the fastest growing computer manufacturer in the world.
Acer understood our dilemma, and offered the perfect solution. After clearing some bureaucratic hurdles, we were granted authorized reseller status and it was like the world of notebook and tablet (yes, I said tablet) PCs had opened up to us at last. We were able to obtain discounted units to use as display models, we were granted a generous credit line, and we now had access to more sales and marketing materials than I could have hoped for. I had 4 weeks to get something together for Back to School and the clock was ticking.
We successfully launched our sale on Saturday during our radio show, Compute This. I can not begin to tell you the anxiety that I felt about this sale. I had launched countless sales in the past, but this one was different. This sale marked the first day in the future of Schrock Innovations. After the show I went to the Service Center to make certain everything was ready for our launch. At 12:01 our first customer came through the door and bought one of our Acer notebooks. Then a second, and then a third. We actually sold our entire inventory of one model that afternoon!
When it comes down to it, there are only 4 places other than Schrock that you can go to lay hands on a notebook computer before you buy it. Lincoln knows we offer local, award-winning service and support. We have earned our customers’ trust and we finally have the products they have been asking for. Now it is just a matter of spreading the word and trying to keep the units on the shelves!
If you have not done so already, make a trip to our Lincoln Service Center and see these amazing notebooks for yourself (on a brand new retail display!) Rest assured that while many things will change over time at Schrock, our personalized, local service and support will always be there. You can count on that.
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