Friday, March 20, 2009

Buying a new keyboard via Bricks and Clicks

OK, I've had it with my old clunkly Dynex keyboard. Normally my typing speed is somewhere up around 80+ wpm, but with this keyboard it sinks down to around 70wpm... that's over 10% and just not acceptable when I'm knee deep trying to get ideas out of my head and into a computer before they disappear.

So I thought what I'd do is go online and see which local retailers have my product, and, more importantly, which one's had my product in stock in my local store. The only reason I would go to a Brick and Mortar site for electronics is because either:
  1. I want it NOW!!

  2. it's so expensive/heavy that I want to make sure I have a real person to yell at if something goes wrong

Off the top of my head I know I picked these stores due to their proximity and my inclination that they may have what I'm looking for.
  • Best Buy (800lb gorilla).. I have a bias toward them because it is very close to my house and I know they have keyboards I can test drive.

  • Wal Mart (close by, cheap, I THINK they have keyboards I can test drive)

  • Kmart (close by, I work for their parent company, I'm pretty sure they don't have them out where I can test drive them in the brick and mortar)

  • Staples (far away, expensive)

  • Office Max (far away, expensive)

I put the broadline retailers in the middle because my impression of Office Max and Staples is that they typically charge a premium, but I don't know if that's really true or not.

First, the raw results:
  • Best Buy results (A) 510 results, many computer keyboards, the actual type of product I'm looking for is dead smack in the middle of the screen

  • Walmart results (D) 164 results, some computer keyboards, have to scroll down quite a bit to find a computer keyboard among the chaff

  • Kmart results (A) 238 results, many computer keyboards, almost everything is computer keyboard related. Actual product is slightly below middle of screen.
  • Staples results (B) 156 results, many computer keyboards, single list, only two results immediately visible

  • Office Max results (B) 102 results, many computer keyboards, single list, only two results immeidately visible

Now for the big test. I want to now filter by things I can go and pick up right NOW.

  • Best Buy (F) there might be a way to do this, but after a minute or two, I couldn't find it
  • Walmart (A) - OK, I hate to say it (for obvious reasons given my employer) but these guys nailed this cold. Not only does it give me the UPC (which Is interesting to me for other reasons) it also tells me which stores in my area have it. Nice job guys.
  • Kmart (F)
  • Staples (F)
  • Office Max (F)

Well, this was disappointing for me. I fully expected it to be a no brainer and that Best Buy would blow me away, and for some reason, I felt certain had this functionality, but it was Wal Mart who actually came away the winner.

Frankly, this is a bit of an academic exercise because, after thinking about it, I'm still going to Best Buy because I want to be sure I can test drive the keyboard and I know they have a big display of them set up for me to play with.

No comments: