As part of my continued backlog of content from PAX Australia in which I attended in the last week, I had a lovely exchange with James Merk, the Director of Brand Marketing at Newegg Inc. In this interview with him, I got to ask some questions regarding Newegg and their new plans for Australia. Not only that, I got to take a good look at their many devices including the Custom Darth ABS Rig.

Hey there James, I hope that Australia has been treating you well since you got here! Can you give me a run down about Newegg’s history with Australia?

Yeah sure, a year ago we started in Australia who proved to be one of our biggest places for people who buy from us and so we’re now working on virtual fulfillment. There’s a special deal going on to the rest of the week if your readers would like to head on over to our store. Australia’s market was over four times what we expected in terms of sales and actually twice as much as any of the other countries we’ve expanded to.

Happy to hear it! I wanted to ask, how is Newegg’s store converting pricing for its products? Is it an exchange from the American price? Or is it locally sourced and determined?

For us, we’re sourcing locally. Newegg has great relationships with several of our vendors who we work with over in the US. MSi and ASUS are some big companies, and heck even the big rig behind you is a custom made bit of machinery. When it comes to price efficiency, we’ve got rigs and devices that stack up reasonably high. For what you get in the machine, there’s a lot there that help mitigate extra bits of hardware like HDMI cables and such that would normally seem normal enough at $50, but with so many of these types of extras, the price hits reasonably hard subconsciously.

Yeah I was wondering about all those devices behind me, would you take a quick run through it for us?

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Sure, so as you may or may not know, we build gaming computers as well, this (the Custom Darth ABS Rig shown above) is our showcase machine. It’s water cooled, more gigs of ram than you really need, you name it. Everyone wants to be able to push it faster and have some head room for the future, you know? But yeah, because we buy an awful lot, we can get better prices than other people and we pass that saving along. We make sure to have great customer service, merchandising and prices just like in the US.

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We also handle the Steel Series stuff and the MSi gaming laptops (seen above) that have proven to be really popular with competitive players who can have their set up and go from one tournament to the next. Then there’s the ASUS small form that’s compact and yet powerful. These are just a sampling of what we offer on the store.

We make sure to have a lot of choices for our customers and a fairly big community that’s supporting us and want us to expand out like we have. I think that’s one of the great things about Newegg, we keep it pretty real. If you read the customer reviews, you’ll see some critical and often very constructive feedback. Obviously we’ll moderate slightly to keep the language clean and to try and mitigate the profanity. Otherwise, we keep it in tact. In the case where vendors come to us and asks us to filter our customer reviews, we tell them we simply can’t and encourage them to take those reviews and improve on their product.

That’s great to hear. You tend to hear of companies who agree to moderate and filter their customer feedback section for glowing reviews. I’m glad Newegg has some integrity! Now, I was wondering, have you noticed any trends for what Australians have been buying in the store?

That’s an interesting question, I don’t have an exact answer but it would seem that Australia is fairly starved of technology. It goes back to the aspect of choice. We felt that Australians were starved of choice so when we started putting our stuff out there and showing off our lineup of products, Australians were more than welcoming. It’s been a huge relief to see that Australians are super tech savvy, super into gaming and generally passionate about machines just like in the US. Mostly, the ones you find using the Newegg store are the tech savvy folks who know what they want and where to get it for a great price. Especially for devices like unlocked phones and gaming peripherals.

It’s definitely true, we’ve got the desire for great tech, it’s just a matter of accessibility.

Yeah that’s why we’ll have a warehouse that’ll be opened up in Melbourne eventually. This’ll provide a more local and efficient service to the Oceanic region. As of right now, this phase of ‘virtual fulfillment’ is what we’re putting most of our efforts into right now. Because of that, we don’t have a clearer detail. As for time frame, we’re doing the first phase for about a good 3-4 months to gauge how our customers take to our presence in order to ascertain our future goals and plans for the company in Australia.

Brilliant, it’s great to hear there’s going to be an even more consolidated presence from you guys when it comes to the advancement of tech in Australia. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we end things?

No, I think we touch based with everything we need to. We hope that everybody gives it a shot. It’s still kind of new but, give us your feedback. Like we said, Newegg is very customer focused. What you want is what we want to deliver.

Alright, I appreciate you for having us James!

Aw you kidding? Thank you for having me Patrick!