Buying laptop online vs Physical store - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Buying laptop online vs Physical store

Everything is available online- do you still buy stuff offline? The good old practice of visiting a store, speaking to staff, looking and feeling real products, discussing your questions and concerns, bargaining and making a purchase has its own charm and advantages compared to viewing some virtual images, paying online and awaiting delivery.

As I was scouting around for a new personal laptop, I did my initial research online. While there were good deals, I also wanted to consider offline stores and buy from them if I get it for the same price. Eventually I bought a laptop from the Dell Exclusive store in Manipal.


Online

Offline

Price

Cheaper

Slightly higher as stores have rent and other expenses, but at times they cut their profit and match online price. Do ask

Free accessories

None

Got a small laptop bag free

Initial setup (Registration with Dell, Windows 11 activation, partition etc

Will be on my own

Was helped by store staff-I could do all initialization at the store and start using once I reach home

After sales support

Amazon has No number to call, complicated support process

Can walk in and talk

Possible fraud

High- device could be refurbished or some internal components damaged/replaced- we won’t know if seller is trying to cut corners

Usually low as we walk in, talk to people and build a personal relationship. If they do fraud they will have to shut shop soon

Stakeholders

Amazon/Flipkart takes a cut

Delivery cost has to be factored

Seller takes a cut

OEM has to make money

Payment gateway charges

OEM & local franchise/store owners only

Delivery

3-4 days (normal for tier 2 / 3 cities)

1-2 days (prime/big cities etc

On the spot if stock is available

1-2 days if available in local stockist

More if it has to be procured from OEM

Make

Could be older stock

Can insist on latest and verify before paying

The reason I preferred offline store for laptop purchase are as below

1. We need an alternative: While online purchase is fine, those who have set up a physical store also need to survive. If all physical stores are forced to close because no one is buying offline, online stores will start increasing the price and we will be forced to pay much more. Thus where possible it is important that we support local physical business houses.

2. Potential frauds online: Despite all the process and checks in place, there are still some trust issues in online purchase. Sellers are often under pressure to sell for less and this pressure often forces them to take shortcuts that compromises quality. We will not know if the seller has done some compromise in the device he is selling me- it could be a damaged/refurbished unit or some components repaired/replaced or there could be other known issues not communicated and impossible for ordinary people to find out during purchase. In a physical store, fraud chances are less as they have to maintain trust and relationship with customers.

3. After sales support: It is a lot more convenient to walk into a store where you bought the laptop, hand it over, explain the issues and ask them to fix it. Online process is a lot complicated. Amazon doesn’t have a number to call- you have to follow a complicated automated process to raise an issue and hope that it is addressed. Also when there is a dispute- like I insist damage was existing but the seller insists it was fine when delivered- it gets too tricky and customers are at the receiving end.

4. Better relationship: Online sellers sell to 1000s of customers around the country and don’t care to maintain any relationship. If things go wrong they can easily shut shop and open another account with a different name and resume their fraudulent practices. Whereas someone running a store locally aims to build trust among his local customer base and doesn’t want his reputation ruined. Having someone by your side to advise and help when your purchase needs after sales service or some other help is a lot better option than relying on online help

In my own personal experience, my first laptop purchase was sometime in 2007 in Hyderabad in a physical store. This HP laptop that was priced 75000 back then had a touch screen and other fancy features but after 3 years it started giving trouble, so I sold it off.

My second laptop was purchased from Tata Croma in Chennai- a Lenovo G550 bought for about 35000 in 2010. This device was amazing- lasted for about 10 years. My 3rd Laptop was also a Lenovo- decided to stick with the brand as the previous model lasted long enough, but this time ordered online in 2019 but it has started giving trouble in 2022. Mic stopped working, the keyboard stopped working (few keys) and the charger had some issues. One proper service and repair may keep it active for another 2-3 years I guess, but with this experience I decided not to continue with Lenovo this time. All my office laptops have been Dell for several years (except the current one is Acer) so I decided to try Dell for my personal use as well. So far it has been a good start. I am now in a smaller town of Udupi where people value person to person contacts and relationships. So far it has been great experience with Dell Exclusive Store in Manipal.

Related: Brands that have worked for me and those that didn't * My 2007 post on Dell vs HP vs others * How ecommerce companies might be tricking you *

2 comments:

  1. Nice to read details post online and in store shopping.
    Not yet buy Laptop from online. I bought computer accessories from online.

    ReplyDelete

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