Top Five Longest-Running UK Indies: Barkman Computers

The next entry into our Indie Retail Month in association with Gem is long-running Kingston Upon Thames store Barkman Computers.

Owner Nick Elliot tells MCV about how the store has remained successful on an ever-changing High Street.

What is the secret to staying around so long?
You have to look after your customers. They are the reason we are here. We have also remained competitive and, maybe more so a few years ago, sourced products that we weren’t carrying for customers. There’s no point stocking everything so we judge products based on what our customers want the most and merchandise our selection of games.

How has the store developed?
It’s about a constant innovation of products. We won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The PS2 is still important to us and does well for us.

How do you plan to develop and stay around?
We continue to stock what exactly what our customers are looking for and we provide additional DLC content when possible to help drive the new releases.

How has the indie scene changed since you started?
The sheer proliferation of products. Also, the erosion of margins. People forget that games actually used to sell at their retail price. A NES game would sell at its retail price. I think it started back with the first PlayStation when Virgin Megastore took the lead on that one I think.

What advice would you give to someone starting up?
It is key to learn about your customer base. Find out what they want and find a niche.

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