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  #1  
Old 11-11-2010, 08:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default What Happened to Dell's Customization?

<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//dht/auto/1289441699.usr1.png" style="border: 0;" /></p><p>I don't know about you, but I feel like Dell's customization options have become dramatically restricted over the past year or so - it's like they're trying to get out of the custom, built-to-order computer business and into the "Buy Model A or Model B" business. I can't tell you how many times over the past year I've tried to spec out a computer or laptop and found that I'm locked into a "template" where the CPU, screen resolution, and GPU are locked down - allowing customization of the RAM and hard drive, and that's about it.&nbsp;</p><p>Case in point: the above computer is the Dell Inspiron All-in-One desktop computer. My wife's aunt is looking for a new computer, and an all-in-one would have several advantages for her. Dell Canada's email promo talked up the touch-screen aspect, so I assumed that the touch screen was an integral part of the product and included in all versions - it's not. <a href="http://www.dell.com/ca/p/inspiron-one-2305-amd/fs?dgc=EM&amp;cid=61111&amp;lid=1539013" target="_blank">When you go to the product page</a>, there are three configurations you can chose from: <MORE /></p><ul><li>The $599 model with an AMD X2 CPU at 1.6 Ghz, 3 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and no touch screen</li><li>The $749 model with an AMD X2 CPU at 1.6 Ghz, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and the touch screen</li><li>The $849 model with an AMD X4 CPU at 2.3 Ghz, 4 GB of RAM, a 750 GB hard drive, and no touch screen</li></ul><p>Bizarrely, you can't add a touch screen to the $849 model. Nor can you upgrade the CPU on the $749 model. So you have to choose between having a touch screen and having a powerful CPU. I can't think of any possible reason why the X4 CPU wouldn't be compatible inside the chassis of a computer with a touch panel. You can't add a bigger hard drive, or more RAM, to the $599 model.</p><p>Why would Dell force customers to chose between a touch screen - which is key to the product - and a quad-core CPU? I'd never suggest anyone buy a dual-core 1.6 Ghz CPU for a desktop computer - that's just not very much grunt.</p><p>Why is Dell restricting customers from building the computer they want? That's Dell's key advantage against HP in Canada - HP only sells locked-in product models here in Canada, much to my continued dismay - but I find Dell more and more inflexible when it comes to offering me choice as a customer. What's going on with you Dell?</p>
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:52 PM
Bob Christensen
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Well, it just so happens I can answer your question with some authority (from the horse's mouth, so to speak). I just read this today:

http://forums.rampantspeculation.com...ead.php?t=7000

Dell thinks the people want LESS options, so they have complied by reducing their options by 90%!

I'm with you... big mistake.
 
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:56 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Christensen View Post
Well, it just so happens I can answer your question with some authority (from the horse's mouth, so to speak). I just read this today:Latest progress (email) report on Dell CAP days - Rampant Speculation Forums
Dell thinks the people want LESS options, so they have complied by reducing their options by 90%!
Whoa. Thanks for sharing.

That certainly explains what I'm seeing - and I can understand some of that, but there should ALWAYS be an option for someone who wants to configure everything themselves. Locking the customer into a restricted configuration with virtually no options is ridiculous - especially since, in basically every case, it involves the customer spending more money. I want a FASTER CPU, MORE RAM, etc. That means more profit for Dell.

In the example I raise above, I want the X4 CPU + the touch screen - so it would likely be a $949 configuration. Why doesn't Dell want the extra $100?
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:02 AM
Lee Yuan Sheng
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That's easy, it's likely to cost them more than $100 to put them together. I'm guessing they're streamlining operations and all.
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:07 AM
Jason Dunn
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Originally Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng View Post
That's easy, it's likely to cost them more than $100 to put them together. I'm guessing they're streamlining operations and all.
Could be. But from a product perspective, why would you make touch a central part of a product's marketing push, and in the top-end configuration OMIT the key feature? That's baffling to me. I wouldn't mind not having the customization options if the top-end configuration included everything the model below it had.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:04 AM
Bob Christensen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng View Post
That's easy, it's likely to cost them more than $100 to put them together. I'm guessing they're streamlining operations and all.
Certainly could be. But if so, Dell is being very duplicitous since they've officially said the cutback in configurations is due to what we "customers" want.

But Dell... duplicitous? Tell me it ain't so!
 
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:34 PM
marvi1
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It also appears that you can't get the touch screen model. At the moment, there is only the $849 model showing up.
 
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:46 PM
Jason Dunn
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Originally Posted by marvi1 View Post
It also appears that you can't get the touch screen model. At the moment, there is only the $849 model showing up.
Is that in the US? At Dell Canada there's a touch screen model $749 - there's actually four models now, but still only one with a touch screen. Weird.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:54 PM
Sven Johannsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
In the example I raise above, I want the X4 CPU + the touch screen - so it would likely be a $949 configuration. Why doesn't Dell want the extra $100?
May not actually get them $100 more. If you offer 3 different cpus, you need to purchase and stock 3 CPUs at lower volumes and potentially higher unit price. Do that enough and you could wind up diluting your buying power with options. I prefer the options myself, but the market demands you produce stuff as inexpensively as possible. I don't really believe Dell ran a poll and people said. we want less choice. I think they looked at their sales and found the majority gravitated to particular configurations, (default, or cheapest), and decided to concentrate on their best sellers to lower material costs and either increase profit or lower price. A good marketing guy can spin that as the public was confused by all the options, and actually believe it.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:01 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven View Post
I think they looked at their sales and found the majority gravitated to particular configurations, (default, or cheapest), and decided to concentrate on their best sellers to lower material costs and either increase profit or lower price. A good marketing guy can spin that as the public was confused by all the options, and actually believe it.
Quite possibly - but it's an accepted axiom that you want to offer customers a "Good, Better, Best" scenario. Each option gets more expensive, offers more, and builds on what the previous model has. In this case, Dell is offering the touch screen only on the slower CPU unit - forcing a choice between a much faster CPU or a touch-screen. It breaks all the rules of how you should market your products - Dell should *always* provide a top-end config that has everything included. That's my complaint.
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