PCWorld Forums

PCWorld Forums: Desktop Desires - PCWorld Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Desktop Desires Open Letter to the Retailers, if they want more sales

Poll: What stops you from buying another RETAIL Desktop? (3 member(s) have cast votes)

What stops you from buying another RETAIL Desktop? (multiple-choice)

  1. Don't need one yet (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Am waiting to see how Windows 8 shakes out (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. Too hard to figure out what to buy (1 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  4. Configurations offered don't suit my needs (1 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  5. Too expensive (1 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  6. Too bulky (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  7. Too confusing (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  8. Retail packages don't offer Linux, or don't offer dual-boot with Linux (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. Other (please explain why in comments) (2 votes [40.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 User is offline   brainout 

  • Expert
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,166
  • Joined: 13-August 12
  • Location:Houston area

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:08 AM

It took me from May until now to make my purchasing decisions, in large measure because it was so difficult to find information. Then when I tried to purchase two laptops, I found that I couldn't buy them because either I couldn't get the configuration offered, or because the seller wouldn't reply to my queries. So, instead of buying from the retailers, I'm forced to get what I want made, or tweak what I have.

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.

The ideal caddy looks like a very short one-shelf cart sans top cross-bars, all metal, good strong wheels, [_______] shaped, with the brackets signifying the cart sides. I found such a cart years ago for only $7, new, from a store like Dollar General; the side rails are maybe 12" high and 12" deep. The shelf is very low, only the wheels are below it; shelf is made of metal cross bars; so I stuck a piece of wood on that shelf, plunked my tower atop the wood, so it moves my Dell 8400 tower with ease. Have had it, for seven years. It's still in great shape. Can I find another such caddy? NO. All the other caddies offered are terrible, mostly suffering from the dingdong idea that rivets should be on the topside of the caddy shelf, making the computer sit funny. Puleese -- let's get smart about the design. And make money, too.

So a retailer can 'bundle' a tower with such a cart, for very low cost, but charge more (i.e., maybe $15, which is still below the market price for mobile computer caddies). That would help the bottom line.

7. GIVE ME THE ABILITY TO BUY these things as accessories, if you don't have time to bundle them, and make them available AT the point-of-sale. Every retail vendor makes more money on accessories, but all too often the buyer doesn't KNOW what accessories are available, until AFTER he's purchased the computer; weblinks to the accessories, aren't posted on the same page as the computer. This is dumb: we want to get ALL of what we need in a one-stop-shopping experience. Why do you think Walmart is so popular?

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

Willfully Insane Now Dangerous Or Wildly Stupid. :)
0

#2 User is offline   Rommel 

  • Expert
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,233
  • Joined: 22-March 09

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:11 AM

For the reasons you listed is why I simply build my own.
And because there are so many different needs and so many different budgets, there will be so many different options and configurations.
More PSUs don't come with a power cord being most ppl have one laying around or use the formor power cable.
If that saves me money I'm all for it.
So the listed cables you want most likely could be in ones possession from the device they purchased.

Buy your build parts this black friday.
www.newegg.com and www.tigerdirect.com are two of several online stores to get good deals on your build.
I'm looking for parts to build my parents a computer.
Should get a good build at a good price.
0

#3 User is offline   brainout 

  • Expert
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,166
  • Joined: 13-August 12
  • Location:Houston area

Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

View PostRommel, on 16 November 2012 - 09:11 AM, said:

For the reasons you listed is why I simply build my own.
And because there are so many different needs and so many different budgets, there will be so many different options and configurations.
More PSUs don't come with a power cord being most ppl have one laying around or use the formor power cable.
If that saves me money I'm all for it.
So the listed cables you want most likely could be in ones possession from the device they purchased.

Buy your build parts this black friday.
www.newegg.com and www.tigerdirect.com are two of several online stores to get good deals on your build.
I'm looking for parts to build my parents a computer.
Should get a good build at a good price.

Understood. I too, keep old computers for parts. Your average business, though, and your average user, doesn't want to do all that. The big boys in retail got there, because once upon a time they didn't offer a bizillion models which are mostly useless configurations. So if they want to stay in the game, and increase sales, they got to go back to 1) offering a few WELL configured models, or 2) allowing the customer (like you) a better set of configuration options.

That said, nothing is more satisfying than building your own computer. I bet your parents, will be thrilled. :)
Willfully Insane Now Dangerous Or Wildly Stupid. :)
0

#4 User is offline   Grr8008 

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 779
  • Joined: 11-August 08

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:24 AM

My reasoning is that I'm curious to build my own. But I have to get my current desktop working first.
Posted Image
0

#5 User is offline   smax013 

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 13,139
  • Joined: 28-January 07

Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

View Postbrainout, on 16 November 2012 - 11:21 AM, said:

The big boys in retail got there


Kind of depends on who you are talking about when referring to the "big boys in retail".

If you are talking about the likes of Dell or HP through their website, then you usually can "build to order"...but maybe not to the EXACT specifications that you want...for that there are more "boutique" computer retail sites (usually more aimed at hard core gamers, but it can work for other purposes).

If you are talking about "brick and mortar" stores like Best Buy, etc, then they will likely never have "build to order" options...certainly not to the level of a computer manufacturer. Their cost structure just does not allow it. Which is then why they tend to have a crap load a different models (at least on their website...but to some degree even in the store) that very similar with minor differences.
Good riddance PCWorld.
0

#6 User is offline   brainout 

  • Expert
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,166
  • Joined: 13-August 12
  • Location:Houston area

Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:06 AM

View Postsmax013, on 18 November 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

View Postbrainout, on 16 November 2012 - 11:21 AM, said:

The big boys in retail got there


Kind of depends on who you are talking about when referring to the "big boys in retail".

If you are talking about the likes of Dell or HP through their website, then you usually can "build to order"...but maybe not to the EXACT specifications that you want...for that there are more "boutique" computer retail sites (usually more aimed at hard core gamers, but it can work for other purposes).

If you are talking about "brick and mortar" stores like Best Buy, etc, then they will likely never have "build to order" options...certainly not to the level of a computer manufacturer. Their cost structure just does not allow it. Which is then why they tend to have a crap load a different models (at least on their website...but to some degree even in the store) that very similar with minor differences.

Yep, you state that well. Since these are the types of companies which are examined to say that PC sales are declining, then it behooves these companies to maybe change what they are doing.

Bet you money that the computer-builder shops aren't getting a decline in sales, but rather an increase, as the 'big boys' aren't providing what users want. Best Buy or Walmart are mostly unintelligent of what kind of computer to get. Very soon, buyers will experience a computer that won't do what they need. And will spread the bad word.

So for stores like that, the behavior change is to purchase better-configured models, and fewer different ones. For the Dells and HPs and Acers, the change needed is to provide fewer models which can be kitted out with more options. This should save on manufacturing costs as well, for if they would come up with some BASIC style (one tower and one SFF desktop, one laptop in maybe three sizes), then the rest could be customized; this saves on inventory and makes a happier customer.

Maybe I've missed something, in the foregoing description. :)
Willfully Insane Now Dangerous Or Wildly Stupid. :)
0

Share this topic:


Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users