Tag Archive for ‘Retail’

Uninformed Purchases

Matt Birchler, comparing how most of us shop for trivial items like a hammer to how people make purchasing decisions for computers, smartphones, and tablets:

Odds are you will probably drive down to your local hardware store and buy the first hammer you see that is a good price. You might even go to a big box store like Target and get whatever hammer they are selling in their 3 aisles of home improvement supplies.

You’re certainly not going to shop around from store to store for the best hammer deal. You’re not going to watch YouTube videos demoing an array of hammers, and you’re not going to read reviews for the top 5 hammers this season. You’re certainly not going to check to see if Craftsman is going to release a new hammer in the next few months that will be better than what’s on the shelves now.

I could barely keep myself from laughing while reading this piece. Not because his point isn’t valid, but because I’m totally the kind of person that would spend a bunch of time researching hammers before buying one. I’d check Wirecutter, search YouTube for recommendations, and read user reviews on Amazon.

My father was a lot like that, too. That’s probably where I get it from. He prided himself on being an informed consumer — specifically looking for products that were reliable and had a long lifespan. He would rather buy something at twice the cost if it would last him three times as long as its competitors.

That isn’t to say that I never buy things on a lark, without doing my research first. It happens. Just this past week, my wife and I found ourselves at Lowe’s looking for a box to house our garden hose. I spent exactly zero time researching beforehand and ended up buying the best looking one out of the half-a-dozen options in the store.

I try to avoid making purchases like this, though. I know that my life will be more pleasant if the items I’m surrounded with represent the best in their category. The less friction that these objects introduce into my life, the more time I can spend on what matters most.

That doesn’t mean I have to buy the most expensive products available. But with most items, there’s a tipping point at which the increased cost no longer brings substantial improvements. That’s the sweet spot that I try to aim for. Not the cheapest or most expensive models, but the one somewhere in the middle that strikes the right balance.

But I know that I’m not the norm. Most people aren’t willing to go through the hassle of researching products before they buy them. They’re just going to take a trip to a local retail store and buy whatever looks best to them out of the handful of options available.

And as Matt points out, this is how most people buy tech products:

This is not how any of us would shop for a computer, tablet, or smartphone, but it is how a lot of the world does it. So the next time you think someone is crazy for not recognizing how much better “X is than Y” remember that you probably couldn’t tell a home improvement expert a damn thing about why you bought your hammer, it was just the first one you saw at a decent price. And you know what? Even though it’s not the best hammer, it totally works for what you need, and that’s all you need.

People who don’t buy the best computer/phone, or even the best device for the price, are not unusual and they’re certainly not acting irrationally. They just have different priorities than we do, and sometimes that’s easy to forget. So by all means, help the non-techies in your life make the best decisions possible, but don’t be offended if they choose something different than you’d expect.

I know that people shop this way, but I have a hard time remembering that when I see someone with a product that I would never even consider purchasing. It just runs counter to the way my brain thinks about shopping. But it would be wise for myself and anyone else that thinks similarly to take Matt’s advice. No one should be thought of as foolish for buying an inferior product and those of us that take the time, should share the knowledge we gain to gently nudge those around us toward the best purchasing decisions possible.

Apple Unveils Smart Home Experiences in Its Retail Stores ➝

Megan Rose Dickey, reporting for TechCrunch:

Now, when you go into Apple’s new retail stores, you’ll be able to use the Home app from either an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to control devices like the Philips Hue light bulb, the Hunter ceiling fan and many others. If you tap to lower the shades in the living room, for example, you’ll see the shades lower in the house shown on the screen.

It’s disappointing that the devices aren’t controlling any actual HomeKit products, but building a mock living room inside each Apple Store might not be a practical solution.

Daniel Jalkut on ‘the Apple’ ➝

Daniel Jalkut, on Apple’s decision to drop the word “Store” from their retail branding, in comparison to other retail stores like Tiffany and Gucci:

The difference between these brands and Apple is that Apple’s identity has long been independent from the notion of a store. Calling it the “Apple Store” was not only important because the stores were a novelty, but because Apple is a brand that transcends retail.

I suppose this is the biggest problem with Apple dropping the word “store” — it devalues the Apple brand. It doesn’t matter how high-end their retail presence is, no brick-and-mortar store could ever be as prestigious as Apple itself. And the retail branding should reflect this. The store is just a small part of the bigger whole not the entire focus of the company.

Apple Drops ‘Store’ From Apple Store Branding ➝

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

It’s a change that appears to have started rolling out with the launch of the newer Apple Stores, like the Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has always referred to that store as just Apple Union Square, and over the course of the last few days, the company has updated all of its retail store webpages to remove the “Store” branding. What was once “Apple Store, Fifth Avenue,” for example, is now just “Apple Fifth Avenue.”

This seems to fall in line with Apple’s online store overhaul that took place around this time last year. I don’t think Apple wants to emphasize the shopping aspect in their branding anymore, instead focusing on helping customers learn about the products.

Amazon’s Chinese Counterfeit Problem Is Getting Worse ➝

I buy a lot of goods from Amazon, but I had no idea this was going on. In the future, I’m going to be much more leery of purchasing products that are labeled with “Fulfilled by Amazon”

Apple’s New Retail Store Strategy ➝

Jim Dalrymple explains the five new Apple Store features unveiled yesterday at their new Union Square location in San Francisco.

The App Store and Retail Co-Op ➝

A great piece by John Gruber where he equates paid App Store search results to paid placement on grocery store endcaps. Very clever.

The Exclusive Merchandise Available at Apple’s Company Store ➝

Matt Weinberger, writing for Business Insider:

There’s really only one place on the Apple campus that welcomes visitors: A small Apple Store, located right at 1 Infinite Loop, and open to the public.

Mostly, it’s nothing special among the 463 Apple Stores in the world — wooden tables, lots of glass, and a Genius Bar.

But in addition to the standard selection of Apple gadgets, it’s the only place anywhere on earth where you can buy a special selection of official Apple merchandise.

As a long time Apple fan, I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Cupertino to visit the company store. I would absolutely love to purchase a few of those t-shirts and notebooks.