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Marcus Allen
Customer Stories
Mobo Direct

Marcus Allen, Founder of Mobo Direct

Spotlight on Mobo Direct

In addition to community and marketing projects like this customer spotlight series, one of my responsibilities at Terapeak is supervising our support team. I review many of the questions we receive in support and the question of whether to use dropshipping services is fairly common in our interactions. For that reason, I'm excited to spotlight Marcus Allan of Mobo Direct, an online retailer specializing in supercomputer and gaming platform hardware with significant experience with this particular sourcing strategy.

Marcus started building experience in online retail as a hobby seller. He didn't set out to build a serious business, he just wanted to clear out some spare computer parts he owned. Those initial experiments went very well, his interest in selling grew, and he eventually pursued higher volume sourcing solutions to enable him to sell full-time.

Dropshipping solutions attract a fair bit of criticism online, but they turned out to be the ideal solution for a niche like gaming platform hardware. Computer hardware is costly and becomes outdated quickly. While some parts sell right away, others become obsolete before the right buyer comes along. Marcus he keeps a small inventory on hand and fulfills about 80% of orders through drop shipment. Dropshipping enables Mobo Direct to offer the most current hardware to customers.

Sellers often criticize drop shipment services over the lack of direct control over fulfillment but Marcus feels his fulfillment process is not only functional, but a point of differentiation for Mobo Direct. His suppliers have warehouses in multiple regions which reduces shipping lead times to customers in many parts of the world. Marcus describes how this creates a competitive advantage for his business: "I see a lot of retailers in the United States and Australia rely heavily on the domestic market. I can fulfill orders quickly and easily in any part of the world–in fact international demand is part of what has enabled my business to grow so much. A lot of my business comes from underserved regions."

One of the most common issues raised in reviews of dropshipping solutions is the occasional cancelled order which results from a seller offering inventory which has already run out at the supplier. When I ask him how this affects his process, Marcus explains that the relationship really isn't that hard to manage because he can monitor stock levels at his suppliers in real time. Less than 1% of his orders ever have to be cancelled.

Mobo Direct has been a solo operation from the start but when Marcus indicates that when his sales volume hits the right growth levels, he can project how and why his business might eventually change in scale. "Selling supercomputer and gaming hardware is my niche but eventually I would like to be able to offer computer servicing as well–if it gets to be too much for just me I might bring someone on in the future."

Marcus describes what he tends to source, "Although much of what I source is new condition, there is plenty of demand from businesses and consumers for hardware and replacement parts which are no longer available. I encounter very little competition on those used items and as long as I have Terapeak to evaluate the opportunity, the sourcing decision is straightforward. Anything in used condition is tested and comes with a manufacturer warranty."

On the topic of Terapeak, Marcus volunteers,

Research is really effective in the product selection process–it's like having a crystal ball to see what's going to sell. If I see a listing for gaming hardware has a lot of watchers on eBay, that's one positive indicator but I also compare sell-through rates and competition levels so I can avoid saturated parts of the market, but still carry what's in demand.

Regarding the question of multi-channel selling, Marcus lists a few alternative sales channels available to him but emphasizes that eBay is still the big sales channel for his local market. However, rather than have all of his sales rely on just one channel, Marcus took steps to build his own website, mobodirect.com in order to attract traffic outside of eBay. It does add a bit of complexity to his inventory process and he wishes there were easier integrations for sellers managing sales and inventory data for more than one site.

When I ask Marcus what's next for his business, he replies, "I'm determined to build up the brand in the United Kingdom next, and bring Mobo Direct to the forefront of the supercomputer hardware market on multiple sales channels. This season has been busier than usual and we are focused on doing even more volume next year."

Visit the Mobo Direct site at mobodirect.com

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Contact Erika at success@terapeak.com for details on how your e-commerce business can appear in our spotlight.
Erika Geremia, Marketing Campaigns Manager

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