If you have laptop, and it’s a Mac, you may feel like Apple is the only place to turn for parts and repairs. But since 2002, Powerbookmedic.com has been offering an alternative. The site specializes in installations, repairs, parts, and service for many portable Apple devices. What started out on eBay in 1998 has quickly established itself with its own site.
Bradley Wallace owns the company, Powerbookmedic.com.
PeC: Your company is an online business that sells replacement Mac parts and also offers Mac repair services. How do you coordinate repair services online?
WALLACE: We’ve developed a three-step process with an in-house developed application. First, anyone can go to our site and request a quote. Then, if the customer agrees to the quote, we’ll provide the shipping information to send the unit to us. Finally, we’ll collect the customer’s payment.
PeC: Customers can monitor the status of their repairs through support tickets. How does this system work?
WALLACE: We use Kayako and it’s similar to a system where your customers can go in and they can submit a ticket that basically goes to customer service. It assigns them a ticket number and all the responses have a ticket number associated with them.
PeC: How do customers typically find you?
WALLACE: We have lots of advertising campaigns from magazines to pay per click. We’ve found a mixed strategy that works well for our niche market.
PeC: As far as pay-per-click, which search engines do you use?
WALLACE: We use Google, MSN and Yahoo!.
PeC: How many keywords do you purchase?
WALLACE: We purchase thousands of keywords and keyword combinations.
PeC: What percentage of your business comes from PPC?
WALLACE: A large amount, however the majority of our ad spend is also in PPC.
PeC: What pay-per-click advertising advice would you have for people who are new to the world of PPC?
WALLACE: Be aware of when it gets to the point where you feel like you can’t manage it yourself. We actually hired a company to manage it for us. We have so many keywords and we just don’t have the in-house employees to work on it. And we needed someone working on it 24/7. It’s expensive, but it pays off.
PeC: Who do you use for this?
PeC: What is your most common Mac repair job?
WALLACE: We see a lot of everything. Cracked LCDs are probably the most common.
PeC: What’s the toughest repair job?
WALLACE: Bottom cases of laptops that require complete disassembly. It’s not really that they’re tough, it’s that they are long repairs.
PeC: What is your most common Mac part sold?
WALLACE: Power adapters, specifically our brand.
PeC: How do you ship your parts to customers?
WALLACE: We primarily use FedEx Express, not ground service.
PeC: What is the biggest obstacle in repairing a Mac from a distance?
WALLACE: The biggest challenge would be gaining the trust of a customer, which is hard to do for any e-tailer. Convincing someone to send his or her “baby” off to be repaired can be hard for even the most trusting person. However, as we’ve grown and become a recognizable name in our community, those trust issues have greatly diminished. Also, having a professional website invokes confidence from the customer.
PeC: What shopping cart do you use?
PeC: What advice would you offer other ecommerce merchants as they are getting started?
WALLACE: Invest in the best, most customizable software available at the start of the business. This will save headaches with transfers and upgrades in the future. Avoid free systems.
PeC: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made with the business?
WALLACE: Perhaps the largest mistake is being overly cautious and being slightly reserved with company growth.
PeC: Do you use a Mac?