Last week we spent an evening with the insightful team from Dell and a group of other fashion bloggers. They wanted to get our opinion on the link between fashion and technology and also let us take a look at some of their new products.
Almost all of us agreed that sticking a flower on something or making it pink is not only insulting to intelligent women, (especially older women) it often downright puts us off. Of course there is a market for this kind of product (pink is one of Dell's best sellers) we just don't think it appeals to all women. We're not pretending we really care about gigs, memory size or pentium processors, or actually even know what they are. We think if we buy from a well known brand, the actual technology is a given, but what differentiates the product is way it looks and the all round the customer experience.
So, what are we looking for when we buy a computer, and how does fashion affect our decisions? Firstly would like an exciting shopping experience, similar to when we go shopping for clothes. We would like a pleasant environment, with knowledgeable, approachable staff and clearly defined shopping areas according to our needs. We would like to feel we are experiencing the brand. This is where Mac wins hands down every time. On entering a Mac store, you are instantly involved in the Mac experience. A pleasant good looking member of staff greets you and there are plenty of enthusiastic 'Mac geeks' dotted around the shop to talk you through your requirements. The store interior is aspirational without being intimidating and both interactive and inviting. The product manages to have mass unisex appeal without pandering to gender stereotypes. One feels one is buying into a lifestyle, much like you do when shopping for a good fashion brand. The Mac team say they want buying a brand new Mac to feel like its Christmas, which it does.
Compare that to entering a PC World, usually located in some dreary retail park, with unenthusiastic staff not affiliated to any brand and with often limited knowledge of individual products. Maybe technology retailers have had it too easy for too long, knowing their products more or less sell themselves, therefore the words visual merchandising and retail experience, don't seem to be front of mind. Perhaps technology retailers could take some tips from fashion retail, what about designated concession areas with staff assigned to a brand, or product merchandised according to end use?
What about the look and feel of a computer, what do women our age really want? It's a difficult one, but we think technology choices tend reflect lifestyle and interior choices. If you are a creative type and have a minimal interior, chances are you'll go for a Mac, if you are a teenage girl maybe you'd go for a coloured laptop, or if you are anything like us you may have a Mac in one room and a few lap tops of different types dotted all over the house.
Personally we would like a simple, pared down design, tasteful, yet functional and doesn't scream design or technology, It just says efficient and stylish. Does Ally Capellino do computers?