Since there is so much said about slumping desktop sales, I thought it might be good to set up a poll. Hoping that, if you vote too, maybe retailers will realize that we are stopped by what they don't offer: clarity, configuration, customer satisfaction. If they change what they're doing, they might see a rise in sales. So in the rest of this post, I'll list my pet peeves. Some seem rather petty, others not so much. Would appreciate if you'd add your own ideas, so retailers will hopefully change direction.
Here's my list of wants:
1. GIVE ME TURNKEY: I want ALL of what I need in the computer bundle, so I can just run it out of the box. So when I go to purchase a computer online, I want to choose not only the right specs, but also the peripherals. So, for example, if a computer has a Firewire port, I want a Firewire cable to go with that, even if I don't use Firewire: so I can at least know what the cable looks like, and how it works. Same for HDMI. This option would be easy to subcontract with Amazon, or whoever. So you don't need to add your own plant and equipment, inventory, etc.
2. GIVE ME INFORMATION: the specs offered on a computer are rarely enough. Key information is often missing. What's the video card, what dedicated RAM, what's the sound card, what's the cache, what is it compatible with, etc. So too, the pictures of the computer for sale, are too small and unclear, so you can't see all the sides to know the ports, can't well see the keyboard. Walmart and Dell post photos of laptops BACKWARDS, so all you see is the cover. That helps, not at all. Point-of-sale online is vital to vendors, so if you don't get the info you want, you'll soon tire of searching and not buy.
3. GIVE ME COLORS, not black: this shouldn't have to be said, but most walls in offices and homes are not black. So to have a computer or monitor which is black sitting on a desk with black cords, makes the whole room darker; and of course the snaking black cord then has to be futzed with to hide it, since it starkly contrasts with the (usually white) wall. So it looks depressing, kinda like Youtube or Google pages, prison black and white. Granted, it wouldn't be a happy thing, to return to that horrid beige/putty color so common in the late 1980's and early 1990's; but cream white would be nice. Black dye ruins a vat. White dye doesn't. Gray is also depressing, and sometimes silver, too. Some people will buy a new desktop only because it looks nice (i.e., some Alienware and Dell XPS models). Think about it.
4. GIVE ME THE SPECS I WANT: this too shouldn't have to be said, but the usual configurations offered for retail machines are dumb. If the mobo can take 16 GB of RAMM, allow it as an option at point-of-sale, irrespective of the OS, because you don't know if the buyer will tweak the machine to dual-boot it with a 64-bit OS. Some people claim that the profit-margin on added RAM is high. I say that's good for the seller, and since my time is very valuable, I'd rather PAY the seller to add it, than go do it myself or hire someone else to do it cheaper. After all, it takes time to carry the machine post-purchase, to someone else for tweaking.
Same, for the OS. Why can't the retailer offer to give you WHATEVER OS you want, including dual- or even triple-boot, with Linux? Sure, many out there can do it themselves; but like me, many more do not WANT to diy. We don't have time or inclination to learn all the ins and outs of the configuration; a retailer like Dell, for example, already KNOWS that stuff, and can make more profit if it offers such a service at point-of-sale.
5. GIVE ME REMOVABLE DRIVES, rather than strictly internal. One of the neat things about Dell computers: they often allow you to switch out modules. For example, on my old Dell Inspiron laptop running Win98SE, I can switch out a Zip drive, and switch in a CD drive with a 3.5" floppy, all without having to open the laptop. Unlike an external drive, these removable drives can be faster, and are part of the machine. Don't forget: a lot of old data and installaton programs sit on 3.5" floppies. So allow a removable floppy drive to be inserted. Small businesses would LOVE that, since they don't have time to copy all their old floppies over to CDs, etc. And, quite frankly, the installation programs ON those floppies, won't run if on other media. So if I needed to run Win95 in Virtual mode, I couldn't install it, since it was often packaged for retail, on 3.5" floppies. Businesses often need to access old data; but they lack the hardware to do it, on newer desktops.
6. GIVE ME WHEELS, for a tower. It's a royal pain to shop for tower caddies. Either the caddy is too short so the tower sticks out too much on both sides, and you risk tipping the tower when you try to move the caddy, or the caddy is too flimsy.
8. GIVE ME COMPARISON CHARTS. Dell knows the difference between its Optiplex and Precision, but I don't. Dell knows the differences between its many laptop models but I don't. Same, for Acer. But neither website offers any good web mechanisms for setting up side-by-side, a chart of comparative specs; so you are constantly flipping from one page to the next, in a daze; by the time you even FIND a comparable other model, you FORGOT what you were comparing it to. So you stop shopping.
So goes my partial list of desires, by category. One can easily see that such options for laptops would also be good to offer. Now, the profit margin on these options should be higher, akin to how purchasing extra features on a new car, makes more money for the car dealer. 20% of the customer market will complain about anything offered. But 80% will buy. And thus you can end, the slump in PC sales.
This post has been edited by brainout: 15 November 2012 - 09:39 AM