The holiday season is upon us. A time for hanging colorful decorations, family gatherings, and one too many turkey dinners. Spending money is also associated with the holidays, which means businesses are poised to pocket some nice change before the end of the year. But it’s not just your traditional brick and mortar retailer. IT solutions providers can cash in big, too, thanks to their hardware.
It’s not uncommon for MSPs to stock up on extra servers, storage devices, and backup appliances to lease out when a client needs to replace something or put a certain item into play for the first time. By rolling these costs into the current bill, vendors can service those additional needs and bump up their monthly recurring revenue in the process.
While consumers anticipate the latest tablet or a nifty new sweater, IT solutions providers have wishlists stocked with lucrative equipment. Here are some tips MSPs can use to make the most of the holiday hardware sales on the retail market.
1. Go to Existing Sources
With technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing gobbling up hardware profits, there will surely be numerous retailers looking to move traditional equipment at discounted prices. Variety is great, but before you jump on the amazing deal offered by a new supplier, you may want to check with your current suppliers first. In addition to helping you snag a generous discount, your suppliers may be able to help you project what hardware items will be hot sellers during the holiday season. By leveraging their knowledge, you’re more likely to stock up on inventory you can actually monetize.
2. Track Down Trends
The New Year will be here before you know it, but there is still ample time to put a finger to the pulse of the IT vertical. Whether it’s MSP Mentor or another industry source following the Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) trend, Google, or even a traditional trade journal, take the time to find out what’s moving around this time of year. Heck, even Amazon has a cool little system that tells you what’s selling in categories such as hard drives and storage. The point is that there is plenty of information out there. It’s up to you to tap into it!
3. Stick With What You Know
While affordable IT gear will be abundant during the holidays, not all items are guaranteed to be in demand with customers. For this reason, MSPs should resist the urge to go on a shopping spree for random equipment in hopes of raking in a few extra bucks. So if servers are your bread and butter, stock up on them and let your competitors be cute and gobble up the printers, tape drives, and other items they’ll have a tough time monetizing. If you’re curious about new categories, purchase in small quantities so you can minimize the financial gamble.
4. Make Quality a Priority
Some of the sales you encounter on the holiday market may be for used equipment. The used component is an interesting one because it means you can save money and potentially make a lot more when it comes time to lease that equipment to customers. However, you need something that’s going to meet performance and reliability standards. Not to mention up to date features and a warranty in the case of repairs and replacements. It’s probably best to limit used equipment to routers, firewalls, and print servers, while purchasing brand new gear for your main, network, and database server needs.
5. Keep Delivery In Mind
Retailers will be running specials up until the last minute. That’s great for consumers, but the later we tread into the season, the more delivery becomes an issue for MSPs looking to take advantage of the holiday rush. Before placing an order, make sure the distributor can deliver your goods in a timely fashion. Orders are commonly backlogged around this time of year, and it would be a shame to have your IT assets stuck on some delivery truck on December 20.
6. Get Moving!
There is still plenty of good IT-friendly hardware to be had for bargain prices. But the more time passes, the more you stand to lose in selection and quality. Buy crap equipment in the crunch, and you could actually lose money during the holidays rather than earn more of it. Not cool.
Photo Source: Flickr