Custom PC maker AVADirect has been around for a long time, but the company has reimagined itself to a certain extent. Late last year, the Twinsburg, Ohio-based builder revamped its website and online configurator, but that was just the beginning. AVADirect has also begun reshaping the type of products it wants to offer its customers.
We spoke with Travis Bortz, AVADirect's Vice President of Business Development, about the company's brand new bag, its Signature Series machines, and its strategy of developing purpose-built solutions for niche markets at customers' behest.
In the most general sense, AVADirect has changed its approach to the whole market. "In the past, it was always a reactive approach -- if you called or went to the webstore, we got the sale -- things like that," said Bortz. "We did very well, somehow, but now we're going to take the proactive approach."
Part of that strategy includes being aware of lifecycle management (especially regarding the company's enterprise, industry and SMB customers, although the same applies to a lesser degree to general consumers, as well). Said Borz, "We have 50,000 customers; why not reach back out to them?"
AVADirect is also investing heavily in staff. "We built a marketing team. We have a creative director, a public relations associate. We're building a sales department, a customer service department," said Bortz. He also noted that AVADirect's tech support specialists are all "level threes," meaning they're all at the highest level of expertise.
The tech support piece is key, as it speaks not only to after-purchase customer service, but also to this, or any company's, ability to serve customer's needs meaningfully and long-term.
"You're only as good as your reputation, only as good as your product, only as good as your service after the sale," said Bortz.
In addition to the above, AVADirect has three main areas of focus for its products: the fully customizable configurator options (which it has always had), a special high-end line of machines called the "Signature Series," and a "solutions" section where the company can help customers get a rig purpose-built for a specific need or purpose.
Bortz told us that considering all the various component options available, AVADirect offers between 2.5 to 3 million different configurations, but he also saw a place in the market for more specific, and high-end, builds.
"My vision was to create a Signature Series where you take cutting-edge applications in the industry -- or designs, or vertical markets -- and build solutions," he said. He noted that the configurator can be overwhelming; having too many options can be paralyzing for some customers.
So, he thought, why not create a build specifically for, say, VR? That's what AVADirect did with its AVA Omni VR desktop, a system designed specifically to work with the Virtuix Omni (which is unfortunately sold separately).
He thought the same with hardline tubing -- why not build a rig with that as a premier feature and market it as such? No one else really seemed to be doing that, so AVADirect launched the Avalanche, which features a bent hard tubing liquid cooler design.
There will be more builds coming to the Signature Series, so stay tuned.
Hitting Niche Markets
In addition to the Signature Series machines that have a specific premier selling point, AVADirect is developing a "solutions" section of its site that will cater to niche markets. "It's still in the works, but we'll have it in about six months," noted Bortz.
What might that be is essentially limited only to the imagination and needs of a given customer and, well, the limits of computer science. The idea here is that AVADirect can cater to a larger audience, and that audience will approach AVADirect with a specific need or niche in mind. Bortz called these "solution-oriented configurations."
The new rethinking of AVADirect is an effort to bolster the things the company did well in the past and also present new and compelling products and solutions for its customers going forward.
"We can do what Dell can do, but Dell can't do what we can do," said Bortz. "And that's what the true customization option is."