Tradeloop's Member Blog And News: August 2009

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We are the largest B2B marketplace for computer brokers, computer leasing companies, used computer wholesalers, third party maintainers and self-maintainers, who trade wholesale computer lots of used & surplus computers, bulk electronics, and hard-to-find used computer parts.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Stallard Technologies: Helping Companies "Go Green and Save Green"

Stallard Technologies, Inc. buys and sells new and pre-owned Dell servers, workstations, and EMC storage solutions. A key aspect of the company's business model is flexibility: customers can visit the Stallard Technologies web site and custom-configure from 30 different Dell models. Stallard sells to both resellers and end-users worldwide.

As the world economy has faltered, Stallard Technologies has prospered. The Overland Park, Kansas company increased sales 17% this year by expanding its customer base to include…. competitors! In a business often known for cutthroat competition, Stallard has built bridges instead, becoming a major supplier to other resellers.

Phil Poje, Chief Marketing Officer at Stallard, explained that the idea of strategic partnerships with other resellers was a natural outgrowth of efforts to manage the expense of maintaining a multimillion-dollar parts inventory:

"Each week, we receive a tractor-trailer load of off-lease OEM hardware. We ship 40-60 servers each day and have over 1,300 parts in stock. With our strategic partnerships, we can keep inventory moving and give smaller resellers access to a large inventory of parts and equipment."

Managing that much inventory can be a challenge. Stallard has to balance the incoming product with customer demands, so the company is always looking for new suppliers and customers.

"We use Tradeloop to market our parts inventory and find parts we need to re-configure servers, workstations, and storage devices. It has also been a great place to meet new vendors and create business relationships."

Stallard Technologies is a busy place. The twenty-five employees, including four Dell-certified technicians, receive the equipment, scrub the hard drives, pull the processors, RAM, etc. and put those parts into inventory. When a customer places an order, technicians configure a custom unit with original OEM parts, upgrade the firmware, and conduct a 20-point inspection of the hardware before shipment.

Poje believes the arrangement is a win/win for everyone involved. Customers purchase products that meet their exact specifications while sellers recycle their off-lease or excess equipment and keep it out of the waste stream:

"We call it 'Go Green and Save Green' because we're taking corporate waste and recycling it. In difficult economic times, companies are trying to stretch their IT budgets as far as possible. Our customers have confidence that they're buying name brand equipment with a warranty and no hassle return policy.

Everybody loves a deal and we have a great one: good equipment at half price."

Stallard supports customers after the sale as well, with a free one-year limited warranty on all equipment. Poje said the service policy is simple. "If something goes wrong, we fix it. If our technicians can't troubleshoot the problem over the phone, we send them a new part."

It's an attitude that builds customer loyalty, Poje concluded:

"You have to back up what you're going to do. If people trust you and like you, they'll buy from you. It's just that simple. At Stallard Technologies, we've assembled a group of people committed to service. We're here to help customers find the best IT solutions for their home and business use."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Use Tradeloop's Features & Options To Increase Search Engine Visibility

The online marketplace gets bigger and more complex every day, making it more difficult for companies to stand out from the competition in search rank and search results in Google and other popular search engines. Many companies pay thousands of dollars to search engine specialists to gain better visibility among searchers.

But, consider this: your Tradeloop membership already includes many excellent opportunities to boost your search engine rank. You just have to take advantage of them.
  • Display your inventory to the public. Allow your parts lists to be indexed by search engines. When you participate in Tradeloop's End User program, your parts lists are available to searchers on Google and other search sites.

  • Write a good company profile. In many cases, carefully-written, keyword-rich Tradeloop company profiles appear in the top ten of Google search results. There's a limit of 4,000 characters, but that's more than enough to accurately describe your company and its products and services.

    A complete, descriptive company profile helps boost your credibility on Tradeloop as well. That's often the only information a prospective buyer or seller has about a new company. Making a good first impression is important because customers have a lot of options: give them an incentive to call your first!

  • Select the "Public" option for Broadcast messages. "Public" Broadcasts get indexed by search engine spiders and display in search results pages. So the information in your Broadcast appears in the search results when a prospective buyer searches on a particular part number or product name you've listed in a public Broadcast.

    Of course, there are times when you want to keep Broadcast information private, and we offer that option as well. You can choose either option when you create a Broadcast message.

  • Add a custom signature to your Broadcast messages. If you're sending a public Broadcast, the signature information will get indexed as well. Naturally, your signature should include your name and contact information, but there's also room to include a pithy, keyword-rich description of your company.

    It shouldn't be as complete as your Tradeloop company profile description. However, a sentence or two that includes your company name and a brief description of your products and services is a good way to attract buyers. It also gives you a little boost in search engine ranking algorithms.

  • Sign up for Tradeloop's Ethics Seal Program. Our Ethics Seal program helps improve conversions. Studies of online behavior have shown that buyers look for third-party trust marks and tend to buy more from companies that display them.

    When you join Tradeloop's Ethics Seal program, you get to display Tradeloop's Ethics Seal. When a visitor clicks on that seal, he's taken to a customized Ethics Seal verification page that talks about your company (not Tradeloop) and includes a link to your Web site. That external link from Tradeloop to your Web site helps boost your site's relevance in many search engine ranking algorithms.

  • Let us write about your company for the Tradeloop blog. We profile one member company per month and feature a quote from that profile article on the Tradeloop home page, along with a link to your company profile. The information you provide for the article appears on the Tradeloop blog and is indexed by search engines. It increases both your online visibility and credibility.

    A company profile article is a free, fun, and great way to introduce your company to the Tradeloop community. Just contact Customer Service and ask to be put on the waiting list.
The best thing about these options is that there's no technical expertise required! You just have to take a little extra time to make sure you include important information in your Broadcasts, member profile, etc. Like most good search engine positioning strategies, these techniques help you appeal to both search engines and human buyers and sellers.

And every single one is available to you at no extra charge because they're already part of your Tradeloop membership.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ethically Speaking: August 2009

Last month, we saw some unusual activity in the Tradeloop Ethics area. Two new Ethics complaints were filed and two pending complaints were closed with no action taken. That's a pretty routine level of activity.

The unusual aspect is that both new Ethics complaints filed in July are between Tradeloop members. Generally, the vast majority of Ethics complaints are filed by Tradeloop members against non-members. That's one reason we always encourage our membership to look to other Tradeloop members first when buying or selling equipment.

Both new complaints are still in the information-gathering stage and, of course, our staff will work with the members to try to solve the disputes amicably. In one case, the complainant alleges that the defendant didn't pay for merchandise received. In the other case, the complainant says that the defendant shipped substandard equipment and hasn't refunded the agreed-upon amount.

One case closed with no action was originally filed in April. The complainant asked that the case be placed on hold while he and the defendant (a non-Tradeloop member) worked on a resolution. We closed the case with "no action taken," after a long period of inactivity.

We closed the other case (#5036) at the request of the complainant. He and the defendant (both are Tradeloop members) made extensive use of our Ethics blog format to discuss the complaint and various issues relating to pricing strategies, Broadcasts, posting inventory on other sites, and more. Other Tradeloop members may find the discussion interesting and relevant to their own business practices as well.

Learn more about these Ethics cases and review the details of other posted Ethics cases as our Tradeloop Ethics area.