The retail opportunity for gadget lovers

Fast becoming an essential outlet for those wanting to keep ahead in home entertainment and technology, CeX (Complete entertainment Exchange) is becoming a valuable player in this ever-evolving sector

Text: Adam Browning

Whether buying customers' superseded goods or selling the latest cutting-edge products at an affordable price, CeX gives its customers the best of both worlds. CeX specialises in seven main product lines named 'super categories': Video Games, DVDs, Computing, Electronics, Mobile Phones, Vision and Music CDs. With a 12 month warranty provided with all second-hand goods, customers are able to make an affordable purchase with confidence. The further attraction to customers is that CeX enables them to exchange their unwanted or used goods for either cash or something they do want.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: We're so confident that you will be satisfied with a CeX franchise that we offer a Buy-Back Guarantee if you're not.

Franchise Director Hugh Man points to a huge potential market for CeX: 'Upgrading to keep ahead is paramount for technology buffs and this is not only true in the fast moving world of computers. DVD has entered the living room faster than any previous device and the videogame business is now so huge, its estimated value is higher than any other sector in the entertainment industry. As well as this, our mobile phone business continues to grow as, after all, who doesn't have a mobile phone? For these reasons, we currently store the buy and sell prices of over 150,000 lines. All of these innovations provide compelling motives for consumers to sell their older technology to CeX.'

Founded in 1992, CeX is now embarking on a nationwide franchise development programme and is aiming to achieve national coverage within five years. 'We now have 50 locations operating, 44 of which are company-owned and six franchised,' Hugh reveals. 'With continued growth in the markets we trade in, boosted by the rapid turnaround of new technology and launch of new platforms such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3, our business model is proving extremely popular. We have hundreds of enquiries from potential franchisees and territories are quickly being snapped up with four new franchised stores opening in the first quarter of next year.'

I find one of the most important things is to love the product. With CeX's product range, there's a lot to be passionate about."

CeX franchisee Eddie Pike

Currently rolling out its proven business model across the UK, CeX is seeking determined individuals who wish to turn their motivation into success on the high street. Says Hugh: 'Through franchising we aim to achieve national coverage, making our goods and services widely available and the CeX name synonymous with affordable technology.'

Franchisee Diary, Eddie Pike

A relative of mine is a franchisee who has built their business to a stage where they operate a chain of shops. This inspired me and I wanted to find an opportunity that would let me work towards a similar level of success. I looked into franchising and tried to find something that would suit me best. I have a Masters in Business and plenty of retail experience, so I naturally turned to this market.

My first introduction to CeX was as a customer. I regularly visited a branch and saw how busy it always was, even on the quieter days of the week. As a customer myself I loved the concept of the business - I could see how successful it was so I enquired about the franchise. I spoke to the existing CeX franchisees, which turned out to be a very positive experience. Everyone is incredibly enthusiastic about the business and they have some great things to say. CeX were very open with me when it came to discussing the possibility of becoming a franchisee, they explained everything, showed me their results and made sure I could make a good, well-informed decision.

The training that followed my decision to invest was great and covered everything I needed to know - it really sets you up to be confident when you finally launch the business. In the weeks leading up to my launch, CeX were incredibly supportive. To start with, they undertook a big evaluation to find me the best location for my business. This is incredibly important to a retail business and so it's great that they go to such lengths to get it right. They also helped set up the store and made sure everything was in place for the first day of trading - CeX are very experienced and extremely competent in what they do.

The support I have so far received has been excellent and this is set to continue throughout the development of my business. Support also comes in the form of CeX's excellent computer system. It makes the franchisee's job much easier - all products are priced at head office and I can use the system to find out what I need to know, meaning I can focus on the building the business.

To make the most of the business, some sales skills and experience in a retail environment would be really helpful, but not essential. You need a willingness to work hard above anything else - to put the time into the business to make it a success. However, I find that one of the most important things is to love the product - you need to be passionate about what you're selling. With CeX's product range, there's a lot to be passionate about.

The potential is definitely there to see with CeX. I want to make a success of my first store, set up a firm management structure and then think about investing in my second. My ultimate goal is to become the regional manager of my own network of CeX stores - I'm looking forward to the challenge.