Sell Out-of-Date Consumer Technology at your own Risk

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Dumping old technology goods to cost-conscious corporate clients may seem like a win-win situation, but actual users may develop a dislike for your out-of-date product, damaging sales potential in the long-run.


Dumping old technology goods to cost-conscious corporate clients may seem like a win-win situation, but actual users may develop a dislike for your out-of-date product, damaging sales potential in the long-run.

In addition to the usual mistakes of selling low quality products and providing poor customer service, companies selling out-of-date products also risk damaging their reputation, image and developing customer backlash.

A while ago, one of the companies I worked for gave me a new old Blackberry device – new in the sense that it was fresh out of the box, but old in that it was a model from 2005. The 7290 series Blackberry had several “features” that defied convention, such as a backlighting system which had to be manually activated, despite having a screen which was unreadable without the backlight.

Furthermore, it only had support for the older GPRS data network, and because the data transfer rate was so slow, tethering it to my laptop to access the internet or intranet while on the road was possible, but practically unusable. The pre-loaded OS was also so ancient that no downloaded applications could run on it. Updating it was simply not possible because of restrictions set by the IT department, and I was no mood to hack a device which would lag if I typed too fast.

The device was gigantic, which started to elicit jokes that the Blackberry was designed to double-time as a weapon in the form of a rudimentary club. Because of its size and the fact that it barely fit in your hands or pocket, people in the company started calling it “Big-Berry” and “Black-Behemoth”. The external holster was big enough to resemble a firearm holster, and was certainly not stylish.

For me, the negative impressions generated by this particular Blackberry model became the defining image of Blackberries for a long time. Up until recently, I didn’t even consider any of the newer Blackberry models as a possible candidate for a new phone despite the improvements that have been made over the years. Quite simply, my original negative experiences led me to believe Blackberries in general were poorly designed phones.

It is especially true with technology products where customer expectations become higher very quickly. Selling an out-of-date product to a corporate client where it is forced on employees may have the perverse effect of reducing sales in the long run, as those same employees may not want to buy that company’s products given their initial negative experiences.

Time has passed, and I have been convinced to at least consider the Blackberry on my next phone purchase. Companies should avoid selling old models to customers, as it may define how they perceive your products and company in the long run.

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Sell Out-of-Date Consumer Technology at your own Risk
Sell Out-of-Date Consumer Technology at your own Risk
Dumping old technology goods to cost-conscious corporate clients may seem like a win-win situation, but actual users may develop a dislike for your out-of-date product, damaging sales potential in the long-run.
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
http://www.bulsuk.com/2009/08/sell-out-of-date-consumer-technology-at.html
http://www.bulsuk.com/
http://www.bulsuk.com/
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