eXpansys is kick-starting a strategy to push for more sales and market share in the consumer electronics space, after the company officially took control of DSNS and PJ Media on 23 July.
The online retailer’s CEO, Anthony Catterson, tells Mobile: ‘We have a well kept secret of over 20,000 products in our range.’
These include laptops, netbooks, cameras, sat navs and games consoles.
Catterson took on the role of CEO at the start of this year and since then has been undertaking a strategic review of the company.
‘I joined the company in January and I have now completed a review to put the company on a more sound financial footing. We are now in the process of leveraging the potential we have created,’ Catterson says.
Catterson’s retail background includes senior positions at Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u, and he is now translating those skills to the virtual space – the ‘fundamentals’ are very similar, he adds.
Not only is he well placed to push eXpansys forward as a retailer after securing exclusives such as the Motorola Milestone and the Acer Stream, but Catterson also sees more opportunities for the brand in the future.
‘There has been a trend for the last few years, which has seen growth in people buying consumer electronics online. But the market is still growing, and in the UK less than 15% of sales of consumer electronic goods take place online,’ he says.
By capitalising on the online retail opportunity, Catterson is hoping to catapult eXpansys to new levels. The retailer has a three pronged strategy moving forward.
Catterson says: ‘The first priority was to establish a financially robust business, and the second was to build relationships with operators and manufacturers. The third is to differentiate ourselves from other online retailers.’
With a set strategy in place and the first step recently cleared, the immediate focus will be on building operator and manufacturer relationships across the 50 markets in which the company is already operating.
Catterson acknowledges that its distributors have been key to eXpansys’ success so far. ‘The business is built on good distribution relationships, but it is in our interests to work directly with manufacturers and operators,’ he explains.
The acquisition of DSNS was a step towards establishing the direct relationships with the networks that eXpansys is looking to create. However, DSNS’ core functions and business won’t change.
Catterson says: ‘With DSNS I’m not sure the business model will change because we believe that business model can grow in other markets such as Europe and America. What’s missing from eXpansys is the direct relationships with networks – we are in discussions with them. We do have the facility to connect handsets but at the moment we go through a third party.’
The company is also looking at search engine optimisation as a means to improve their sales.
‘We are looking at ways to create search optimisation. We did that for the Motorola Milestone and if we do that with all the products we are selling, we would attract many more visitors,’ says Catterson.
He adds: ‘We are continually looking at ways to optimise our own search as well. We live and die by what we do online. It is about attracting people to the website, the fundamentals of retail are similar.’
Part of attracting more customers to the website is down to securing exclusives for handsets such as the Motorola Milestone and the Acer Stream.
Catterson says it is ‘important for any retailer’ to tie up exclusives.
However, he also wants eXpansys to differentiate itself on other points, such as value and services.
And Catterson does not rule out the prospect of a high street presence for the company. He says: ‘In the short to medium term, the challenge is to attract more consumers to the website.
In the medium to long term, I would not rule out having a physical presence. It would be a great opportunity to build the name for eXpansys and it is vital for the company to provide a genuine consumer experience.’
eXpansys may have been around for 12 years, but the next few years will be crucially important for the retailer as it looks to launch in new markets – and establish itself as a credible brand in the markets it currently operates in.
The acquisitions of DSNS and PJ Media have raised the profile of eXpansys in the business sector, but it still has work to do in the consumer space.
And with Catterson at the helm, the retailer may well achieve its ambition of world domination.