Selling Outdated Laptops Insults Consumers and Damages Sales

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Dell attempts to dump old laptops and chipsets in the Thai market, only to find that consumers are not interested.


Dell attempts to dump old laptops and chipsets in the Thai market, only to find that consumers are not interested.

Earlier this year, Dell made its first foray into the Thai consumer computer market. Prior to that, they had only sold directly to corporate clients and were largely irrelevant in the eyes of every day buyers.

The first set of laptops to hit the market were their Inspiron and XPS lines, which were already out-of-date when they were introduced into Thailand. These machines were no longer being offered in other countries and featured technical specifications which were far behind what competitors offered. For example, Dell was still attempting to sell laptops with the original Centrino chipset, while all other computer manufacturers such as Toshiba and Acer had already started using Centrino 2 in their laptops several months prior to Dell’s entry.

I was not impressed with Dell’s product offering decisions on three levels. Firstly, it was insulting as it seemed to assume that the local population was unable to afford new technology. Secondly, it also appeared that they assumed that people simply didn’t know about their latest product offerings or what was new in the market, especially when internet penetration among the young is relatively high. Thirdly, Dell seemed arrogant to treat Thailand as a dumping ground for their unused chips and systems.

In other words, Dell seemed to be insulting their potential customers in a round-about way.

Thailand is a country where the latest technologies appear in the market even if there is no official distributor. The grey market is huge and there is massive demand for the newest and hippest goods. Each iteration of the iPhone for example, appears in MBK (a major department store), within days of its release in the US. The online community here is also huge, and technology magazines are published left and right.

Sales people here are generally helpful and will advise you against buying a more expensive, older machine. For instance, they would advise you to buy the cheaper Acer laptop with Centrino 2 rather than the more expensive outdated Dell. People knew that Dell wasn’t offering value for money.

To Dell’s credit, they are now offering some of their higher end systems in Thailand and have finally phased out the old systems. Their initial product offerings may not have damaged their image in the long run, but I’m sure they lost a lot of potential sales by offering obsolete goods.

Disclosure: I am a very satisfied user of a Dell Latitude E6400 at work.

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Selling Outdated Laptops Insults Consumers and Damages Sales
Selling Outdated Laptops Insults Consumers and Damages Sales
Dell attempts to dump old laptops and chipsets in the Thai market, only to find that consumers are not interested.
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
http://www.bulsuk.com/2009/08/selling-outdated-laptops-insults_12.html
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