OC3D Welcomes Yoyotech Page: 1
Online shopping has become second nature to most enthusiasts these days, with an abundance of price comparison sites to aid you through what was once (and to some respect still is) a potential minefield. It's all good and well buying your hardware from some dubious websites with amazing prices but what are you actually getting for your money? Obviously you are getting the product (hopefully) but what about service? Who can you turn to if the product is not working as it should? Are the websites reliable, trustworthy and supportive? In short are you really getting a good deal?
Enter Yoyotech - House of technology.
Looking to expand their website business, we are delighted to announce Yoyotech have chosen to partner with OC3D and enlist as one of our Recommended Retailers.
Formally known as Antech Ltd, Yoyotech have been in the game for over eight years, starting its business on London's famous electronics street - Tottenham Court Road. Anyone who has browsed the stores along here will know that it's the place to be if you are looking to buy anything computer related. However, due to the uniqueness of Yoyotech, they have since moved just off the beaten track to 30 Windmill Road which has filtered the true enthusiasts from the 'oh I'm just browsing' type. The tactical switch while initially seems an odd one will become apparent later in the article.
Antech and now Yoyotech were also the first store to import Cooler Master products and HIS which are now taken for granted in the enthusiast market. As such you can expect Yoyotech to be at the forefront of importing and supplying the latest products available in the UK. It's all very well others jumping on the bandwagon but the time, effort and research that goes into importing the latest kit is immense and to quote the owner, CK, himself: " I will not sell anything I would not consider using myself". Testament to the quality of the kit available from Yoyotech.
OC3D Welcomes Yoyotech Page: 2
From outside the store, a welcoming open door gains entry into the shop itself. When I first entered the store I felt somewhat like a kid in a toyshop. The sheer amount of choice on display was mind boggling and I'm sure that if my wallet had a facial expression it would certainly be showing signs of worry. All the top name brands are present with the selections grouped into sections around the store so it was quite easy to navigate to the sections you wished to browse.
Thinking back now, I actually felt welcomed by the shop itself, I can't quite put my finger on it but I felt 'at home' if that makes any sense. I was not approached by any pushy sales staff, I was simply asked if I needed any help and when I replied no thanks I was left to have a good look around. At this stage I had not introduced myself to the staff as I wanted to build an honest opinion of how the store operates. In my junior years I was once a retail manager so I was pleased with how the staff approached potential customers without being pushy. Having customers feel at ease is essential for a business in such a competitive market as PC hardware and I felt that Yoyotech had the right balance with regards to customer approach.
So on the surface at least, Yoyotech seem to have everything a hardware store needs. Let’s take a closer look on what they have to offer.
If you are looking for tat I would shop elsewhere as by the store owners submission, Yoyotech will only stock the best products from well known manufacturers' recognised in the hardware community. All the top name brands are there - Asus, Gigabyte, Abit, Coolermaster, Corsair OCZ, Logitech, Razer etc and I was pleased to see that Yoyotech are stockists of the new but very popular Zotac brand. Every budget is catered for from entry level to mid range through to the high-end kit. So whatever your aspirations, Yoyotech can supply your needs.
Want a 1kw PSU. No problem. A tie wrap. Sorted. How about a £99 pc? No, I'm not joking! You read that right, £99 for a base unit. How Yoyotech have managed this is beyond belief but when you consider that the University of London is just around the corner, it makes sense to cater for the budget conscious as well as those lucky enough to have no budget. Obviously the unit is not going to be anything to brag about but the components used, while cheap, are still more than adequate for someone wanting a very basic setup.
Buying from a webstore is all good and well but it can be difficult judging size. Will this air cooler fit in this case. How many times have you bought a product online only to find that it doesn’t fit? How many times have you bought a product online and when you open up the package you see why it was so cheap - plastic photographs much the same as metal so when you see how flimsy that case door/panel it is often too late to do anything about it. At Yoyotech you are actively encouraged to be 'touchy feely' - anything you wish to have a play with isn't a problem which is ideal for anyone wishing to purchase a new case. For example I know the Thermaltake Mozart is a big case but until you see it in the flesh you really can’t comprehend how big it is. Much the same for the Lian Li’s quality and the Silverstone's aesthetics. They are, however, all on show at Yoyotech so if you are in the area of London then I would definitely recommend a call in if you want to judge space etc.
While I was still unknown to the guys some of the staff were approached by customers with some technical questions and every time, accurate and friendly advice was given. I'm sure you have all heard some horror stories about the guys in the purple shirts? Well rest assured there is none of that malarkey here. Each staff member appeared to be very knowledgeable and adept at giving some very good advice. I see this although unfortunately I am unfamiliar with Hindi, Urdu, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, German and Russian. Just a sample of some of the languages the staff at Yoyotech are conversant with. I kid you not. You have not lived until you have heard a Brazilian getting excited, talking about the latest memory kits (at least that what I think he was talking about!). Such is the comprehensive abilities of the staff at Yoyotech.
OC3D Welcomes Yoyotech Page: 3
Ok so maybe all the staff are not related but apart from the obvious you would not know it. The friendly atmosphere that the staff at Yoyotech create is very welcoming and it is very clear that they operate effectively as a single unit. After introducing myself as a representative from OC3D, I was introduced all the staff on site who were only too happy to then show me around their own specialised areas.
CK - Owner/Purchaser
CK has been an enthusiast from the beginning so he is what can affectionately be known as the Godfather of Yoyotech. CK was both approachable and quite obviously knowledgeable about PC hardware. Over lunch, we discussed the business side of Yoyotech where I was intrigued to get an insight into what makes the head of Yoyotech tick. Customer service. Two words that sum up the motto of Yoyotech. When I questioned the business sense of moving from the 'High street' to just around the corner, CK was quick to point out the viability of doing so. It sorts the chaff from the wheat thereby giving his staff more time and the opportunity to deal with enthusiasts who are looking for advice from enthusiasts, not looking to waste time asking for price matches and alike with no actual interest in buying. CK also went on to describe his methodology for wanting to keep a physical presence by having a store. Even though the store will quite obviously have massive overheads being based in a prime location in London the fruits of his labour are rewarded with a loyal customer base in dealing with a company they can trust.
"Sure you might be able to buy cheaper elsewhere but at what cost?"
Somewhat puzzling I thought as who wouldn't buy a product that was cheaper elsewhere. Ck went then explained further.
"Service is something we pride ourselves upon at Yoyotech. Buying from a webstore, you simply cannot guarantee the service you will receive and all to often you will not get any. This is all good and well until a problem occurs. It's akin to asking for insurance after you have had a car accident. When you have a problem with a product, who do you want to speak to, an automated telephone service, via webnote or to a human being with knowledge and customer service experience?"
CK then sat back in his chair as he knew he had me. Nothing much you can argue with there I guess. Throughout the day down at Yoyotech it was clear that his business acumen rang true as the amount of people coming through the doors at Yoyotech was startling. Customer loyalty it seems, is still thriving if you know where to look.
Not wanting to disrupt the day to day running of the shop, I pretty much left the sales staff to their own devices. They include:
Kul- Store Manager
Ravi - Purchasing/Sales
Joe - Sales
Leon - Sales
These are the guys in the frontline but don’t be deceived. The backroom staff are just as important.
Brian - Sales/RMA/PC Building
Courtney - Customer Service/Head of Tech
Lucas - Overclocking Guru/Tech Wizzard/Watercooling/System Building
Ben - System Builder
George - Deliveries/Warehouse
One of the most bizarre things I saw during my time at Yoyotech was a jar on the counter full of free lollypops for the public to chomp on while browsing the store. It's the little touches like this that make a big difference at Yoyotech. Can you imagine PC World and such giving out free lolly pops while you browse the shelves - I think not! Once again CK shows that you don't have to have a clinical, minimalist showroom to sell and to be quite honest I feel that without the friendly family atmosphere CK has installed at Yoyotech it would be a very claustrophobic place.
The shop floor is however only a small section of the 600 sq ft store as we shall now see.
OC3D Welcomes Yoyotech Page: 4
Apart from the sales area, the store is split into a technical/testing area and warehouse. Below the store is where the mini warehouse is situated which is over 600sq ft. Small but convenient as there is also a 5000sq ft warehouse located nearby where the bulk of stock is held.
So you want a pre-built, pre-overclocked system? You want it built by an experienced overclocker and system builder? You want it to have the best parts used but don't want to pay a ridiculous price? No problem! Gaining access to the PC build/RMA area I managed to interrogate Lucas who originally worked for Vadim so he knows a thing or two about PC building and overclocking. Experience like this is hard to come by so with Yoyotech you can be assured of a quality setup built by an experienced enthusiast. Every system built is strenuously tested over 24hrs with programs such as Prime95 and PC Burn-in to ensure when it reaches the hands of the end-user it will not fail.
Selling pre-overclocked systems is a very time consuming service Yoyotech offer but I am happy to report that no corners were cut in the testing of the builds and, as an overclocker myself, the programs used were ones I would be happy to ensure stability and overclock verification.
Yoyotech also build systems for the end-user and offer PC's for all tastes and budgets ranging from the £99 budget to the Ultra High-end, 'Warbird'. Yoyotech will also happily build a system to your specification of choice and happily advise you on your choice of components compatibility.
Inevitably, sometimes there are problems and a mark of a premium service is how the store deals with such problems. RMA's are initiated after an explanation of the problems and once the system or component is returned the problem is dealt with military precision. The components are tested over a lengthy period of time (12-24hours depending on the problem) and all attempts are made to replicate the problem so it can be best identified. It is also worthy of note that the backroom is not in some hi-tech air conditioned lab. All overclocked systems and base setups are tested at room temperature to ensure the setup will not overheat. Once the problem is identified and a fault replicated, Yoyotech will replace the item should it be in stock without a lengthy returns procedure to the manufacturer. This is a risky strategy on Yoyotechs part as the manufacturer may well just repair the item which Yoyotech cannot then sell but it is certainly a big plus point for anyone receiving a brand new items in place of the faulty one.
OC3D Welcomes Yoyotech Page: 5
With the rain beginning to fall and my train back up home rapidly approaching Euston Station, it was time for me to say farewell to the team at Yoyotech. On the train journey home I had time to ponder on what CK had to say and I actually felt guilty for not previously being a regular shopper at Yoyotech, such is the impression he and the gang made.
In today’s market it is all to easy to forget the 'little man' who puts in the effort in to provide a service and support only stores such as Yoyotech can provide. Doing a price check on an item you want will only give you that, a price. If there is one thing CK has taught me in the short time I was at Yoyotech, it is this: Do not put too much emphasis on price alone. Customer support should hold just as much weight and here is where Yoyotech excel. In CK's own words "Anyone can build a webstore and anyone can sell products cheaply but good service takes time, skill and inevitably money. Therefore, it is not always possible to provide the cheapest products and the best service every time but if I have the choice, service will always take preference over price". It is quite clear that CK values his customers and will not substitute bad service just to knock a few pound from his prices. For that he should be admired.
That isn't to say that Yoyotech's prices aren’t competitive as they quite clearly are and are actually often cheaper than their competitors but CK would much prefer a solid, loyal customer base rather than lots of one-time customers, buying the cheapest, compared product available. I felt that Yoyotech and indeed CK wanted, no NEEDED, to converse with its customers rather than simply sit back and reap the rewards of a clearly successful business. Enthusiasts helping other enthusiasts are what Yoyotech are all about. Loyalty and support are the order of the day, and the actual money side of the business seems to be a minor point in the greater scheme of things.
May I take this opportunity to thank Yoyotech
for their hospitality and welcome them to OC3D. May it be a long and fruitful relationship.
Feel free to discuss in our forums