Laptop brands – it’s time to put the customer first

When your laptop finally grinds to a halt and bites the dust, it’s not the only painful part. Finding a replacement means delving into a confusing, crowded and competitive marketplace.

Brands, manufacturers and retailers could make the consumer experience of buying much more straightforward.

The language and acronyms are for techies, not average consumers. All the information is about the product specs, not the needs of the consumer.

The consumer is left to find the right combination of processor, RAM, hard disk space, graphics card, screen resolution and size, battery life, weight, design and style by themselves. For the average consumer, trying to decipher a technical specifications list for a laptop is like trying to find the word for ‘Yorkshire pudding’ in a Cantonese to Mandarin dictionary.

Crucially, the specs don’t tell you what the laptop is good at or the type of usage it’s designed for. Some brands elude to it in their bumph but it could be far clearer.

Busy people don’t want to invest a lot of their personal time in researching what the specs mean just so they can make an informed decision. They care about what it does, how it will fit their lifestyle and meet or exceed their needs. They want brands to design and build decent products and make it easy for them to find the one that’s right for them.

Other brands and categories simplify the process for their consumers and help them navigate to the right product easily by targeting specific usages, ranges, benefits or variants – Uber Pool, Uber X, Uber XL, Uber Exec. Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-cola Zero, Coca-cola Life. Waitrose Essentials, Waitrose Cooks Ingredients, Heston from Waitrose.

For a product like a laptop that the average consumer buys once every few years, it’s even more important to make it easier for consumers to understand. In a laptop sense this could be; office, gaming, studio editing.

Or you could look at Apple and pick between their three models that have normal names that help you understand what they’re for, like ‘Air’ for lightness and portability, or ’Pro’ for top end performance.

There are just two options when you buy a Macbook from the Apple store online. Pick your colour (the first option), then pick between two configurations.

Simple. User friendly. Sold.

Will Rees-Hooper

30.08.16