Offering the right bundled solution
If there's one thing we've learned from 2017 is that people will continue to invest in good products that offer excellent value for money, despite an economic downturn. Last year's Black Friday and other promotional campaigns clearly demonstrated that consumers will always find money when the deal is worthwhile.
So, how can the IT industry and, more specifically, technology retailers and resellers benefit from the above? The answer is bundled solutions. Explains Robbie Johnson, retail manager at Drive Control Corporation (DCC): "People want instant gratification and convenience, and a well-planned bundled solution undoubtedly ticks these boxes.
"A good example of a bundled solution that works is a reputable brand laptop offered with Microsoft's Office Home and Business 2016. Essentially, you are now providing a complete productivity solution; the consumer can simply power up the laptop, install Office 2016 and start working."
Bundled solutions also provide retailers with an important tool to build customer loyalty. By offering bundles that feature reputable and essential brands, such as Microsoft, retailers are demonstrating to consumers that they understand their needs, instead of simply trying to offload products that offer very little value.
"Bundled solutions also enable retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition and draw people to their stores - whether online or bricks and mortar - an important benefit in a time where consumer demand is strained," he adds.
Comments Michael Watts, business unit manager: Microsoft at DCC: "Distributors also have an important part in the successful uptake of bundled solutions. We have a valuable role to play in developing bundled solutions that work. As a distributor, you can remove some of the guesswork associated with choosing the right products, and offer competitive deals that will in turn enable retailers and resellers alike to offer consumers good value bundles."
So, how do bundled solutions work in practice; for one, its individual products must also be available in the store. Also, from a legal perspective, the bundle must be complementary and not force the consumer to purchase additional products.
"Legally, we're required to bundle solutions that will still work when purchased separately; for example, a laptop will still function without Office 2016, and similarly, the software will run on any compatible technology. Also, you cannot offer outlandish product combinations, like a lawnmower with a printer," explains Johnson.
Ultimately, it is about finding the right bundle combination that offers true value and convenience to the consumer.
"There is no doubt that bundled solutions will continue to play a major part in the way retailers and resellers successfully engage with consumers. The trick is to offer a bundle that makes sense to the consumer, offers considerable savings and creates return business," he concludes.