Poll: Would you buy a new pre-installed computer online?

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Thread: Business advice

  1. #1
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    Business advice

    Hi
    I would like to get an indication if the following proposed business idea is feasible...

    The idea in a nutshell, is to sell pre-installed computers via a website. The customer will be able to select a type of computer, pay for it and have it delivered to them fully installed.

    My question is, how many people on this forum thinks that the idea will be a success, if implemented successfully?

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Personally, I like to go in the store and choose the case I want, have a discussion with the techie about the pros and cons of the hardware, and most importantly, I want somewhere just round the corner that I can walk into with my box when something goes wrong. To me this convenience factor is a big thing - service level high, downtime low.
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Dave A (17-May-10), FreelanceZA (17-May-10)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    daveob + 1

    There would have to be a monster saving for me to buy a PC online, and I'd want to know the shop is fairly close by.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    FreelanceZA (18-May-10)

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    Yes, Yes,Yes.

    Happily did it in the UK a long time ago...at the time it was 166Mhz chip (cyrix(sp) as well!) and then did it later with an AMD chipped pc.

    I remember the first time it was because of a (trusted) PC UK magazine doing a comparison test of 10 sub £600 pc's and it got the best rating. Having an external (but trusted) 3rd party rating your build can go along way...

    Just bought my second thermal printer from comx in JHB, excellent service and if I open another shop and need a third one will be buying from them again.

    This is a site that doesn't even have visa enabled, just a system of emails, they do not even keep stock! Yet I ordered (for the second time) a R2700 thermal printer from JHB on a Tuesday and had it up and running on the Friday, in the cape. Great service and no phone calls needed.

    So freelance, you can easily do it with PC's...

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    FreelanceZA (18-May-10)

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    Open Source

    I might buy a machine online if it came with Linux and open source software installed. Just don't like Apple or Microsoft.:

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    FreelanceZA (18-May-10)

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    FreelanceZA, this will (and does already) work very well and your typical marked will be busy home executives who don't want to drive to a shop, only to be told they're dumb by some wise-azz sales rep who only cares about this sales figures.

    Dell, Sun, Apply and IBM already does this and it works very well. Your model can succeed since you'll probably sell cheaper brands like Asus / Gigabyte / Intel / etc, depending on who you use as supplies.

    I do want to make a suggestion though, offer Linux as an option as well, even if you just offfer Ubuntu, Fedora Core (or CentOS), and OpenSuse since there are many people (wannabe hackers, Linux boffens, tight-budget companies, non-profit organizations, schools, etc) who would opt for Linux if they had a choice. In fact, if you can convince Dell / IBM / Gigabyte / Lenonvo / Sony / etc to sell you high end laptops without Windows then you'll soon have a big client base.

    Also, offer some sort of training / support contract as addon. Make a deal with some of the PC colleges to include a training package (offer a variety if possible, like Windows / Internet / Office / etc) and you could soon have a large client base of people with money but without computer knowledge. I know many people who would buy a whole new PC as soon as Windows start to give them bluescreens or their hard drives are full.
    Get superfast South African Hosting at WebHostingZone

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    FreelanceZA (18-May-10)

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    I agree! Linux is definitely an option. Like @solweb, I prefer Linux over Microsoft and Apple too.
    I was thinking of Ubuntu only, however offering the different flavours of Linux, as you suggested, will attract more interest.

    You are right, I will be selling cheaper brands. In fact, it will only be the case that is different, it will contain genuine Intel parts, etc. as do the named brands. @daveob said that he would like to go into a store and choose his own case. That is why I will have a variety of cases for the customer to choose from, with the promise that what they see in the picture, is the same as what is in the box.

    My target markets are students, small businesses and individuals that want the convenience of purchasing a computer and having the guarantee after sales support. I have contacts with people who do training and I have access to training venues, including this as an addon will be amazing!!

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions! I'm all fired up now

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    A couple of things t think about

    Why would anybody buy from you?

    Sounds like a harsh question, but think about it. There are already many websites that offer such a service - Wasn't it Mr Dell who started mail order PCs. We can already source anything from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a credit card. You cannot compete on price, the big guys buy in huge quantities so their prices are already low. If your prices are too low then you are unable to sustain the business. What about support - what will you do if the client phones you up and says the harddrive has blown up.

    Then of course most customers like to order off the menu - They will buy your
    PC provided that you remove the 500GB drive and fit a 2TB drive with 10Gig memory and no, they don't want Vista, they want XP.

    I am very weary of sticking my neck into a market where the customer feels he can blame you for anything that goes wrong. I got into the PC sales market in the early '90. A customer phoned me in 1999 and shat on me because the PC he bought in '93 wasn't 2000 compliant. Another client phoned me one Sunday morning 3 years after I sold him a PC, saying that his hard drive was broken. I asked him to explain to me what happened. Well, he tried to install a new printer, the machine asked him to insert the driver disk, he then inserted the Windows NT disk and followed the instructions. When it started formatting the drive he realized he was making sh...t and turned the machine off. Of course that was the end of the PC. This was of course my fault and my problem.

    I like markets where you can supply the customer with a lot of relatively low cost items. If the item is broken you simply toss it and give him a new one. If you can satisfy the customer you could end up selling lots of items to his buddies as well. You can supply the customer in batches, he orders 50 items, charge him for 10 up front, deliver 10 and offer him a little discount for COD on the rest. You have far more bargaining power this way than you have when a client is sitting with a R10K PC that has a 3 year warranty and 500Gib of unbackup data that just got trashed because...well no matter what he did, its your fault.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Why would anybody buy from you?

    It's a fair question.

    It might be good if you placed yourself in the market as a games machine specialist or as a graphic design/ film editing computer building specialist. It makes it easier to market yourself if you become a pro in a smaller pond.

    Working on price alone could be harder than targeting high end users. For instance my wife is looking for a PC, not for games, but for graphic design. Now what is the best box to buy/build with a price of around R8000? If you get what I am saying...Get some good testing software and become a specialist in this field.

    Another way might be low end pc's running ubuntu for schools and colleges - mass but "unbreakable" pc's (locking down the software)...you would probably make more on the installation and up keep in this instance than on the pc's themselves.

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pap_sak View Post
    For instance my wife is looking for a PC, not for games, but for graphic design.
    Pap sak
    For graphic design we use a 2 screen setup. It makes working in multiple programs very easy.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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