Computers & Electronics

Canada Computers Business Model

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[OP]
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Dec 18, 2007
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Canada Computers Business Model

As some of you may know, Canada Computers took over a few now-defunct NCIX locations in Metro Vancouver.

I've heard that this store is huge in ON basically the NCIX of the East.

As you know, profit margins are razor-thin in the world of computer parts. Amazon is expanding rapidly with a far better logistical network. Walmart.ca is getting into the computer parts game as well.

Just out of curiosity, how is this store run differently than that of NCIX?
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Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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AsianXL wrote: As some of you may know, Canada Computers took over a few now-defunct NCIX locations in Metro Vancouver.

I've heard that this store is huge in ON basically the NCIX of the East.

As you know, profit margins are razor-thin in the world of computer parts. Amazon is expanding rapidly with a far better logistical network. Walmart.ca is getting into the computer parts game as well.

Just out of curiosity, how is this store run differently than that of NCIX?
They have stock...
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2007
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vkizzle wrote: They have stock...
Correct me if I am wrong, I've only glanced at their website.

- They don't take Paypal.
- You can't order online and do in-store pick up.
- They don't do online price match either (pre-sale)

They look worse off than NCIX (with stock).
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Nov 25, 2004
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AsianXL wrote: Correct me if I am wrong, I've only glanced at their website.

- They don't take Paypal.
- You can't order online and do in-store pick up.
- They don't do online price match either (pre-sale)

They look worse off than NCIX (with stock).
not sure about in Vancouver but i[ve been able to order online and do in store pick up. u can Price match only in store.

one thing about the online to the c/s for online is total crap trying to get anyone on the phone is hard and getting a refund for something bought online takes a lot of hassle.

the in store service is pretty good though at least at the one in london they have been good.
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Aug 22, 2011
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AsianXL wrote: Correct me if I am wrong, I've only glanced at their website.

- They don't take Paypal.
- You can't order online and do in-store pick up.
- They don't do online price match either (pre-sale)

They look worse off than NCIX (with stock).
No PayPal for only orders and they recently stopped accepting AMEX; well at least here in Ottawa.
I guess my unique experience was to my satisfaction, considering at the time I was looking to buy 6 1080ti; they were the only shop that had stock and "reasonably" priced at that time.
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Mar 23, 2009
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At least in Ontario, the big difference is you can walk into a Canada Computers store and browse and actually pick up something you might want.

NCIX stores around here were for me basically just online order pickup depots. They never had any stock of anything I ever wanted. The stores were basically pointless. Sorry, I'm not interested that the store has 3 units of a very specific motherboard. These days who walks into a store, browses a bit, and then just randomly buys a motherboard that is the exact model of the few they carry?

And when I was ordering from NCIX, eventually I just started ordering from Direct Canada instead for home delivery. Direct Canada was just a daughter company of NCIX, but the prices were slightly lower. So here too, NCIX as a brand was pointless.

Also, because Canada Computers actually has stores in convenient places, it's pretty easy not only to buy stuff but also to return stuff. They may charge a restocking fee, but on occasion they don't.
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Nov 27, 2004
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PM days are over. I used to PM at NCIX to get the best deals, usually their warehouse has everything but the hours suck.

CC/Newegg don't really PM...
[OP]
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EugW wrote: At least in Ontario, the big difference is you can walk into a Canada Computers store and browse and actually pick up something you might want.
At least for me, most of the time I already know what I want exactly before walking into a store and picking up what I want
NCIX stores around here were for me basically just online order pickup depots.
Which is excellent for me because I never walk around to browse. I do the browsing online, price match, submit payment then just pick up whatever I bought in-store. I am even too cheap to pay for shipping on small/low-cost items.
They never had any stock of anything I ever wanted.
This is true in the past few years before they went belly up. Prior to that, they always had plenty of in-store stock.
These days who walks into a store, browses a bit, and then just randomly buys a motherboard that is the exact model of the few they carry?
Which is why I feel the online browsing and in-store pickup option is more important than the in-store browsing/pick-up experience especially for techies. Most of the time we already know what we want before going there.
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EugW wrote: At least in Ontario, the big difference is you can walk into a Canada Computers store and browse and actually pick up something you might want.

NCIX stores around here were for me basically just online order pickup depots. They never had any stock of anything I ever wanted. The stores were basically pointless. Sorry, I'm not interested that the store has 3 units of a very specific motherboard. These days who walks into a store, browses a bit, and then just randomly buys a motherboard that is the exact model of the few they carry?

And when I was ordering from NCIX, eventually I just started ordering from Direct Canada instead for home delivery. Direct Canada was just a daughter company of NCIX, but the prices were slightly lower. So here too, NCIX as a brand was pointless.

Also, because Canada Computers actually has stores in convenient places, it's pretty easy not only to buy stuff but also to return stuff. They may charge a restocking fee, but on occasion they don't.
I agree. Just having stock is huge. So many people buy because of availability and not the absolute lowest price.

But NCIX was especially bad with stock. They had a whole section for PC cases, but literally only had 3 on display where one was clearly broken with missing parts. All 3 cases were old. Their display case barely had any product. I've picked up a lot of products from NCIX in the past 2 years and every time I went, I never saw any customer ever do anything more than pick up online orders which was all I did as well.
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I can't believe I'm going to write a positive post about CanadaComputers but it has evolved to a business that I will continue to support. Forget the days when their stores were tiny and staff giving you hassle because you took too long to buy something or had a question. Now, their stores have evolved to larger stores with lots and lots of products on display and more importantly lots of stock.

I've actually stopped shopping at DX and the likes because it takes 4+ weeks to get my shipment. I would rather head into a CanadaComputers, browse, see the selection and buy. Yes, I've also bought the wrong product and exchanges are easy. Now, you may say why not Best Buy? That is because I don't want to pay more and they don't have the selection that CC does.

I will go into CC thinking I want X and I come out with X, Y and Z. Its great. I've also ordered online and had it shipped but I don't do it too often since there are a few around my area.

I've also been to NCIX in Ontario and I found it always weird. It was surrounded by display cases and only a few staff members behind those cases. Their main function was to ask your order number (20+ mins wait) , come back in 20-25 minutes later when they retrieve your order from the back and take your payment. You want something else, I was told please go to their website and order it. WHAT?!? Exactly.... I stopped buying from NCIX. They didn't have any retail presence or retail customer service.
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Aug 2, 2004
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To put it into perspective, Canada Computers is like a London Drugs. NCIX is only the prescription counter at London Drugs the rest of the store was non existent

The other thing, there are probably 30 or more Canada Computer stores in Ontario and Quebec
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2007
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tmpz wrote: PM days are over. I used to PM at NCIX to get the best deals, usually their warehouse has everything but the hours suck.

CC/Newegg don't really PM...
PM days are alive and well.

Walmart.ca, Staples.ca, and Best Buy.ca all PM. They have as much if not, more inventory and product variety than Canada Computers with their 3rd-party marketplace as well as their own.
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They push warranties and services pretty hard on casual consumers. I haven't seen their financial statements or something but I would bet that's where they make their bones.

CC has always been very hit and miss with PM for me and I've had a few issues with returns over the years as well. That said, they are one of the few places left where you can get parts without waiting and that's why I keep going.
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2007
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Gee wrote: To put it into perspective, Canada Computers is like a London Drugs. NCIX is only the prescription counter at London Drugs the rest of the store was non existent

The other thing, there are probably 30 or more Canada Computer stores in Ontario and Quebec
The problem is, stores like London Drugs (and others) that rely on having a great in-store browsing experience is becoming extinct. Which is why many retailers have gone belly up over the years or are down-sizing their in-store footprint (for ex., Best Buy) to cut cost.
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AsianXL wrote: The problem is, stores like London Drugs (and others) that rely on having a great in-store browsing experience is becoming extinct. Which is why many retailers have gone belly up over the years or are down-sizing their in-store footprint (for ex., Best Buy) to cut cost.
Not everyone is technically savvy. Just spend 20 minutes in a Best Buy watching customers ask questions.

NCIX didn’t work for a lot of people. It is like Consumers Distributing. You go into a store, wait in line 20 minutes to talk to a sales associate, they order online using their account. Give you the receipt, then go to another line and wait for your product to come out. It was a bad shopping experience. Worse if you don’t know what you want.

I don’t browse when I go shopping, I don’t have time. But I can see all the available brands and inventory at a Canada Computers
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Mar 23, 2009
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Redmask wrote: They push warranties and services pretty hard on casual consumers. I haven't seen their financial statements or something but I would bet that's where they make their bones.

CC has always been very hit and miss with PM for me and I've had a few issues with returns over the years as well. That said, they are one of the few places left where you can get parts without waiting and that's why I keep going.
Yeah, they do offer extended warranties, but for me they just ask and I say no and that's it. They haven't pushed it like Best Buy employees do.
AsianXL wrote: The problem is, stores like London Drugs (and others) that rely on having a great in-store browsing experience is becoming extinct. Which is why many retailers have gone belly up over the years or are down-sizing their in-store footprint (for ex., Best Buy) to cut cost.
We'll cross that bridge when we get there, but right now, at least in Ontario they seem to be doing OK.

As for cutting costs, Canada Computers has more of a warehouse with retail front mentality with their stores in some ways. The retail front isn't exactly high end, and they they don't locate themselves in expensive locations. This is pretty much the opposite of Best Buy. Best Buy is often present in expensive malls, but with little stock, and moderate to high prices for the stuff they have. Canada Computers has cheap stuff in cheaper-looking stores in cheap locations... with actual stock, and a way better selection of computer parts than Best Buy.

EDIT:

I'm not surprised that Canada Computers is doing OK. The store I was expecting to go belly up long ago (besides NCIX) is The Source. They have crappy stuff, and the techy parts from the Radio Shack days is not only overpriced but also poorly stocked, with a poor selection even when they do have stock. I guess TV sales plus a few accessories, plus selling Bell contracts keeps them afloat?
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Feb 4, 2007
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tmpz wrote: PM days are over. I used to PM at NCIX to get the best deals, usually their warehouse has everything but the hours suck.

CC/Newegg don't really PM...
I just successfully PM'd at Mike's PC.
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Nov 27, 2004
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Mysticode wrote: I just successfully PM'd at Mike's PC.
I should clarify. I meant locally in Toronto, CC/Newegg don't really PM.

Online stores like Mikes, MemoryExpress still PM, but have to deal with shipping costs. I wish they open up shops in Toronto
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May 19, 2003
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But PMs do not apply to the 3rd party marketplace! They only PM products they stock. Staples and Best Buy will look for every excuse in the book
or just plain make up excuses to deny you. What a joke. You must be living under a rock to declare PMs are alive and well.
AsianXL wrote: PM days are alive and well.

Walmart.ca, Staples.ca, and Best Buy.ca all PM. They have as much if not, more inventory and product variety than Canada Computers with their 3rd-party marketplace as well as their own.
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AsianXL wrote: At least for me, most of the time I already know what I want exactly before walking into a store and picking up what I want


Which is excellent for me because I never walk around to browse. I do the browsing online, price match, submit payment then just pick up whatever I bought in-store. I am even too cheap to pay for shipping on small/low-cost items.


This is true in the past few years before they went belly up. Prior to that, they always had plenty of in-store stock.


Which is why I feel the online browsing and in-store pickup option is more important than the in-store browsing/pick-up experience especially for techies. Most of the time we already know what we want before going there.
I shop at Canada Computers by researching online first. I look for options on what I want, price points, etc. then I look at in store stock levels. It seems to be pretty accurate and based on what I see I can go to one of two locations near me or order it online, whichever I feel like.

If I’m going in person to pick it up and it said online that they have 10 in stock then I know when I get there that they’ll have it. Not much different then order, pay, and doing in store pickup. If there’s only 1 showing in stock they might not be able to find it or it might be an open box, but I haven’t had an issue too often as the 1 they say they have is usually there as expected.

I’ll also look around the store when I’m there for in store deals or Something that catches my eye. So to me, it’s the best of both worlds to some degree. An decent in store experience without high prices plus a decent online presence that works for me for in store pickup - just not in the guaranteed to be there sense.

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