retail store that has falling sales, apparently isn't much loved by its
customers and which analysts think will pretty soon be beaten out of
existence by Internet-based rivals. Anyone want to stand up for PC
Let's ignore the unpleasant 15 percent sales decline
in the last quarter reported by parent company DSG, and last week's
alarming 42 percent customer satisfaction score in a Which? survey of
the store's consumers. To put this into context, smug, over-priced and
control-freak Apple scored top marks at 88 percent, although to be fair
it is selling its own products not other people's. Still, not good.
case for the defence of PC World is simple. There will always be a need
to try products before buying them, and in most towns that means a trip
to PC World.
Without it, computer buyers would have nowhere
to go to try out the latest products, even if they don't end up (as
appears to be the case) buying them from PC World. This sort of thing
matters. The latest laptop might look OK on the screen at an Internet
store, but that 190 pixel by 190 pixel image doesn't tell you whether
the keyboard is esoteric or uncomfortable, the screen hard to view at
certain angles, and the build quality worth whatever is being asked.
if anything does go wrong, taking a non-working laptop back to an
Internet store and you'll discover a minimum £25 shipping and insurance
bill, not to mention having to wait probably weeks for a replacement.
wanting to defend poorly trained or recalcitrant staff, high repair
prices and the dodgy hard sell (assuming that these are fair
criticisms), PC World is the physical layer that helps support the
whole computer buying market. Losing it from retail parks would be like the car industry losing its showrooms.
direct-only vendors such as Dell understand the importance of hands-on
buying, and its products feature prominently in PC World stores.