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French Version

Young Leaders in Perspective : Khaled Abu Ayash

Looking up the word directory in a dictionary a person finds two meanings; the first, an alphabetical list of names and addresses while the second is connected to computer science meaning a listing of the files stored in a computer’s memory—usually on a hard disk.

For Jordanians the word directory has a different connotation especially when added to the word fun bringing into form the sentence Fun Directory, which happens to be the name of one of Jordan’ leading computer stores. Establishing the Directory ten years ago in order to fill in the gaps of a PC part and accessory market that lacked the proper hardware, Khaled Abu Ayash helped in creating what a lot of Jordanians now regard as the computer pit stop.

Graduating from the University of Washington, Abu Ayash has a BA in Economics and a minor in Management Informations System (MIS) from the University of Washington. According to Abu Ayash everything now is related to computers and having studied economics, which helps in constituting a business, the young man thought of his venture a step in the right domain. “Frankly the beginning was in America, however, we’ve noticed a niche market in Jordan to serve the end costumer. To give you some example there was no store that opens year round, in holidays and late hours.

A store that has all the prices of computer parts and accessories fixed on every product for transparency is very important,” added Abu Ayash, who believes that the customer needs to feel comfortable in buying a product. At the Fun Directory the management offers its customers marketing strategies that are available at the west. “Low price is guaranteed” is a golden marketing rule says Ayash, “if you buy something from our store and you find it cheaper in any where else within five days of purchase you’ll get five percent of the difference back as a guarantee. “We started in software and then slowly moved to hardware.

Ninety percent of person is hardware we stock over 2000 items at all times,” he added. “People have specific disposable incomes and they decided to use it on different items especially if an offer is transparent. “You have to first set the correct strategy for your business and you have to stand by it. If someone wants to shop for a product and feels that something is vague or the price is not right he might not end up buying the product at all.” At the beginning when we started opening for long hours, people were not coming because they weren’t expecting a store to open till ten at night, it was discouraging at the beginning. You are opening for long hours and it is exhausting but it finally paid off,” he exclaimed.

Fun Directory’s fixed pricing at the time might have alienated customers seeking the best price in town; the Arab mentality believes that you win when you bargain, to which Abu Ayash totally disagrees. “When you think of strategies as fixed pricing it is the fair way to deal with end users. For if you have somebody who has an hour to haggle on prices while somebody has two minuets it is not fair for a person who troubles and haggles to get the right price. It should be the other way around. “The courage of my team to stand up for the strategy and explain the new culture of computer retail helped us a lot.

From day one we worked on automating the back office in all aspects of purchasing, advertising and pricing.” According to Abu Ayash, automation is the key element without which Fun Directory wouldn’t have supported the abundance of customers it has, “Today after ten years, we’ve served over a hundred thousand customers most of them are still loyal customers. So to keep up with this traffic, automation was a pivotal element in our successes.” Part of the automation system Fun Directory uses to accommodate their customers is an Offer Maker, which is a built to order pc that allows a person to choose their specified components in offer format that directly goes to the maintenance department which assembles it and delivers it to the customer within 24 hours, he added. “Any customer can use it directly,” pointing at the Offer Maker pc set in the middle of their main showroom, “Sales-person help them to generate these offers.” Abu Ayash believes that service is the important element. “It is very easy to get a customer for the first time but the challenge, to stay on top of the market is with the service. The market believes that replacing a failed part is a cost or a loss whereas it is an investment; you invest in the customer, who will come back to you.”

Mike Derderian
The Star

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