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Tech@Home: Acer Says Buyers Are Now Returning to Retail Stores for Buying Gadgets and Tech Products

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Paul Collins, the General Manager for MEA at Acer, shares his top tech shopping tips

How has the technology/consumer electronics buying experience changed in recent months? Do you see more people buying online or offline from tech retail stores?
The industry definitely saw a strong shift towards online purchases during the initial phase of the COVID lockdown and for a period post that time. Online shares have reduced slightly over recent months, but they still remain higher than the pre COVID period, with many buyers preferring the choice and convenience offered by e-tailers.

Recently, however, we have noticed a return to in-store purchasing, with retailers even offering higher selling prices and enjoying more premium sales than before the pandemic. Some sectors of our industry have been radically changed, an example is monitors, with over 85% of all monitors now being purchased online and this has not reduced since the brick-and-mortar retailers have reopened.

Do brand stores still add value to the overall shopping experience?
Yes, I believe that the in-store experience, with highly skilled promoters aiding the buying process, definitely assists undecided shoppers. Also, to visit a store offering cross-brand and extensive ranges with the ability to interact with the product you are interested in, is still for many, preferable to an online experience. For the foreseeable future, both online and offline shopping experiences have a place in our industry.

If you were to list out the top five factors that people look for while shopping for tech products/consumer electronics/home appliances, what would those be?

  • Standard decisions are based on usage i.e. is the product for work, education, gaming, creation, etc, and does the vendor offer a strong range in these categories. It’s important to be known as a leader in the area with a strong brand association with performance and quality. For example, Acer’s Predator range is seen as a leader within the gaming industry globally.
  • Aesthetics are also proving to be a strong factor in the decision-making process with people looking for products to match their lifestyle and image. For example, the Swift X, aimed at creatives, content editors, and streamers is a professional-looking device yet powerful and ultra-sleek at just 17.99 mm thin.
  • We are also now starting to see a demand, especially from younger customers, that we are as responsible and engaged as possible a company. They are interested in green aspects of packaging, manufacturing, and design as well as what Acer stands for as a brand. They do ask what initiatives and charities we support. Considering this, we recently unveiled the new Aspire Vero, the most environmentally friendly laptop to be introduced within the market to meet these demands.
  • Finally, people are always interested in after-sales service and warranty flexibility as well as in-store promotions. We are very proud at Acer to have an in-house after-sales call centre, meaning that any warranty call is handled directly by an Acer employee allowing us to manage exceptionally high service levels.

How high do people rate after-sales service these days?
As mentioned, we manage our service levels very closely with the call center and service management team employed directly by Acer and who sit in our offices in Jafza 1. This allows us to maintain high levels of service with any decisions related to the service process being taken quickly to improve the experience. Our service partner selection process is rigorous and the ongoing management of these partners means we deliver some of the best standard warranty services in the industry.

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