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Tech@Home: HyperX Says People Feel More Comfortable Buying Online

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Hani Suwwan, the Business Development Manager for MENA at HyperX, speaks to Gadget Voize about how people buy technology today

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?
Due to COVID, there has been an increase in online purchasing which we have seen continuing as people feel more comfortable buying online. To help accommodate this, tech brands have been adapting their online stores to provide the best purchasing experience to customers with brand stores being one of the clear examples of this.

As restrictions start to ease there will be an inevitable shift to consumers coming back to offline shopping. Whether it’s retail or etail though, HyperX will endeavour to make an enjoyable and smooth shopping experience for our community and consumers.

Do brand stores still add value to the overall shopping experience?
With offline shopping, customers get to see a range of models in one place and get the opportunity to compare or test products to help make their decision. However, with online shopping, this opportunity is lost to the consumer. Thankfully with brand stores, it gives the customer the option to compare products on one page based on preferences such as features, price, reviews, etc. This helps make the online buying experience far more enjoyable and streamlined for the consumer.

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?
When it comes to what we see customers seek, often near the top of the list is the quality to price ratio and making sure they are getting value for their money, this also falls into the durability of the product they are buying, both in the design of the product as well as good warranty protection/customer care post product purchase; making sure the consumer trusts the product and brand.

We also see the desire for product comfort, particularly with our headsets. Reviews both via tech and lifestyle media as well as customer reviews are an important part of the process when making considered purchases and finally, having local availability and where possible local layout products is an incredibly important factor, which we have started to cater for with our first Arabic layout keyboard the HyperX Alloy Origins Core.

How high do people rate after-sales service these days?
We have noticed that our customers are very keen on engaging with after-sales services. Our regional social media accounts have been buzzing with interaction, both from customers looking for support for products they already own or those inquiring about various other products. People no longer look at companies as service providers but as partners that join them on their gaming experiences.

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Interviews

Tech@Home: Eros Group Says No Amount of Technology Can Ever Replace Human Interaction

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Deepak Babani, the Executive Vice Chairman of Eros Group, speaks about how tech shopping has changed in recent years (more…)

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Interviews

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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Interviews

Tech@Home: Hisense Says After-Sales Service is as Important as Selling a Product Itself

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Fazalur Rahman, the Marketing Director at Hisense Middle East and North Africa, speaks about how the technology and consumer electronics buying experience has changed in recent months

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?
When it comes to consumer electronics, we have witnessed a gradual shift in buying preferences over the years. While earlier individuals preferred to physically visit a store to scrutinise their goods before purchase, nowadays customers are open to buying products online. The pandemic has only accelerated the growth of digitalization and has forced whole consumer segments to shop differently.

Digitalization has made it possible for brands to market and sell their products online whilst also maintaining customer services. Those brands that took immediate steps to engage with their customers digitally, reaped the benefits during the pandemic as e-commerce was at an all-time high.

At Hisense, we believe that the new habits formed during the crisis are here to stay as they have permanently changed the values, attitudes, and behaviour of customers. It is essential for brands to maintain an omnipresent channel – digital and retail presence as well as build more resilience in their customer experience to emerge even stronger in the long run. Hence, we are present at all major retail outlets in UAE and on established e-commerce platforms like Amazon.ae and Noon.

Do brand stores still add value to the overall shopping experience?
Brand stores certainly enhance and add a greater value to the overall shopping experience. While customers now find it convenient to purchase products online, the visual appeal, as well as the touch and feel of a product before purchase, will always have greater value. For instance, our Laser TV brand stores have a superior ambiance that allows customers to have an aesthetic appeal and a complete experience before making a purchase.

The USP of Laser TV is a home cinema experience, which has to be experienced in real life, physically. Our high-value products are mainly driven by the display at retail outlets. In a brand store, with brand promoters present, customers are able to lay down their requirements and shortlist their products. Additionally, if they do have any questions, it is easier to ask the store representative, making for a quicker purchase.

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?
Electronic items are a big investment; that’s why customers do thorough research before making any purchases. Based on our observations and customer queries in our product segments, we believe, the top factors that consumers carefully look out for before indulging in any consumer electronics are its features, specifications that are linked to technology that deliver customer expectations and usage requirements, price, design, quality, and of course trusted brand name.

Additionally, based on the product category, there are always additional factors that customers look for in a product. For instance, if it’s a TV they look for OTT service support, app’s, software compatibility, connectivity, games, and sound quality comes into play, in a refrigerator, technology like no frosting feature, size vs capacity, warranty, etc. are essential factors, whereas, for AC’s it is quick cooling, consumption, sound, service, etc. are crucial as well.

How high do people rate after-sales service these days?
After-sales service is as important as selling a product itself. It is a brand’s way of making customers feel cared for and valued even after purchasing a product. Customers tend to rely on their home appliances and electronics for day-to-day tasks as well as lifestyle. At times, these items become an essential part of life.

However, for any reason, if there is a disruption in this daily routine then it bothers them. Therefore, after-sales play an important part in the overall brand experience. Prompt customer service has a lasting impression on a customer that paves way for brand loyalty and ensures future purchases. A happy customer is also a potential brand ambassador, who will not only share great reviews about the brand online but will also boast about the products and features to their family and friends, thus, helping the brand to expand its customer base.

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