Computer retailng... from a consumers' point of view
First of all, I do understand that the computer reseller
business is a very tough segment of the retail business
to be in. Not many folks understand this. This includes
people who have been in computing for some time. Many
consumers do not realise the low markup there is on new
equipment. I know, because I loooked into it. You do not
have to, trust me on this one: profit margins are slim on
equipment. Factor in the the big box stores like Best Buy,
Staples etc and the small computer store has an uphill battle.
There are many items that the small store cannot buy at the
price Staples sells for. But, this is not new, and it has
been happening for years in other segments of retail as well.
On this point, I do not know why people think that a Zellers
is any better than a Wal-Mart.
However, what ticks me off is that so many local stores have the
same products. There is no variety. Try to buy a hardware
modem, for under $50.00 in Guelph. This means a non US Robotics
product, and they are available, TigerDirect has them. Any KVM
switches I saw in Guelph were a tad high in price. I found one
on sale at TigerDirect for $29.00.
As much as I dislike going to a big box store, and as much as
I want to buy locally, my economic means forced me to act
otherwise. A clarification here: I was in Toronto anyway when
I bought my KVM switch from TigerDirect. But if I was going to
buy a new monitor (as I did last month) it was worth the drive
as I had over 20 monitors to choose from, and they were all on
display -- working. Number of new monitors on display at the
local computer shop: zero. Do I blame them? HECK NO!
The reason that I am so happy to see FactoryDirect open in KW is that
they have neat stuff at a good prices. Will they hurt the local
computer shop? Not really, given the low markup on equipment in
the first place. In fact, the off-lease stuff that they sell will
need repair some day, and that is where the little shops come in.
The little shops are better at serving small to medium sized business
as well. Small business is not as price driven either, but they expect
service. Spending an hour on a customer who wants to buy one computer
is not worth their while. In fact they may not be able to afford to.
Unless it is a slow day. Very slow.
If you want product X and you want it NOW go to Staples or Best Buy.
But if you can wait for a sale... a big box discounter is the place...
I do dislike bigboxism, but is there any choice? I think not.
That is my opinionated 2 cents CDN worth.