Study says Dell ‘best online experience’ for computer shoppers, Apple in 9th place

“Among the 10 leading computer manufacturers and resellers, Dell Inc. delivered the best online experience to shoppers, while IBM provided the worst, a study released Monday showed. Research on 2,100 consumers as they interacted with the vendors’ web sites found that a strong brand, comprehensive product offering and a focus on ease of use were the key drivers behind Dell’s top ranking, said Keynote Systems Inc., which provides e-business performance-management services,” Antone Gonsalves reports for InternetWeek.

“Manufacturers excelled in strong product comparison tools and in online help and customer support. Apple Computer Inc., second from the bottom in the rankings, was the lone exception, with 4 in 10 consumers complaining about its site’s product information and comparison tools,” Gonsalves reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Clearly, Apple has some work to do on its site, if this study is to be believed. Happily for their users, though, Apple easily delivers the “best personal computer experience” for those that choose the Mac platform. Is Apple’s web site up-to-par? Is it time for a revamp of Apple.com?

40 Comments

  1. WTF are those people smoking. Dell has something that is easy to use on their web site?

    I guess when you survey 2,100 long time Dell employee’s these are the kind of results you get.

  2. Apple’s site is hard to compare among models. And frankly, it’s does take a bit of digging to figure out that the 12″ and 14″ iBooks have the same screen resolution. However, if you know what you want, it is darn easy. For example, the iPod Photo does not download pictures from digital cameras. The technical details are buried for this and other products.

    Dell’s site is so convoluted that frankly it is impossible to compare models because there are so many different models. You don’t even know about them all because of all the guidance based upon your user tendencies.

  3. Good First Post!

    I like to say I really really don’t like the level or quality of service I get from the “kiddies” at 1-800-Apple.

    2 out of 4 times I’ve called them I get substandard results.

    I called to buy two 30″ Displays and a 6800 Ultra and had a simple question if I could get AppleCare on a $7,000+ purchase.

    The kid said he will go find out and placed me on hold.

    I was watching TV and chuckled at a show and he came on furious thinking I laughed at him.

    I said no and explained I’m watching a TV show, he then hung up on me.

    I called again and got another much better phone person, but the first one placed something on my “file” as the guy read off my phone number to me like he was scaring a prankster.

    Well I’ve bought several thousand dollars of Macs over the years and it shows on my file.

    So I asked for a answer on my request and never got a call back.

    Well F*CK YOU YOU LITTLE TWATS, you just lost your commission.

    Anywhere else I call I get a polite “How can we help you Mr. XXX?”

    “We will try” and they call back.

    Not so at Apple, stuck up bastards better get their sh*t straight.

  4. ed – that is irrelevant. if nightowl had bad service – he had bad service. the number one thing service oriented organizations need to remember is this:

    PERCEPTION IS REALITY. regardless of the facts. perception can kill a brand faster than it can build. this is why building a brand is so difficult.

    Apple needs to pay better care to their customer service. if you have a bad experience, call apple on it. don’t be an ass to them. state the facts and your concerns. but dont berate. you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

  5. and everything thing can be improved. apple cannot sit still and be content. just like their hardware, they have to continue to evlove and create new and better experiences online.

  6. Agreed w/ most people in forum. Apple.com is far superior to Dell. Really. Try’n go to Dell and configure a machine w/ a high-end athlon – or a dual xeon – it’ll take ya 10 min. to find the page w/ Athlons at all. They’re not in the ‘business’ or ‘professional’ section, they’re in the workstation area. They put all their computers in weird sub-categories that serve little purpose. And when customizing machines, they throw a million options at ya, most of which 99% of buyers have no clue as to what it is. Whereas apple has less options (for better or worse) but has an “Learn more” button next to everything.

  7. Looking at the participants in the survey, it appears that this was not that Mac-savvy a crowd. Anything that reeks of Apple probably turned them off, then not finding anything that ran “the latest version of Windows XP” probably did them in. Honestly, I went to the PowerBooks page myself just a minute ago, and I can’t see how the Dell site was that much easier.

    For one thing, I go to Apple.com, and I look at the top bar. Tab with “Store” written on it. Go to Dell, and go down to the place where it says Home & Home Office. I think. That could just be some place to show me what the stuff they have does…no, wait, that’s right, there’s the place to buy stuff.

    So I’m comparing sites…PowerBook page, all models side by side on the first page you come to. On the Dell notebook page…you have to figure out which one you want, then you can see how you can configure them. So, once you pick out the one you want, then you can compare it to the others that are similar.

    It’s not for another 15 minutes and going back a second time that I realize there is a small graphic that you can press that lets you see them side by side. Now honestly, did you see it when you went there? Cause I am just like all the soccer moms I have to De-Virus and De-Spyware every day, and I didn’t see it the first time, and I doubt they would either.

  8. I understand Ed’s observations and agree; while Nightowl’s service was terrible it was unrelated to the web which was the purpose of the article. If my recent work laptop experience with Dell support were to be counted their ratings would have been in the major toilet vs. #1.

    However, I suppose Dell’s site “appears” easier to navigate because they have the lame made up choices on the order page and at first glance it appears to have what you need at a cheap price (if you are a consumer who doesn’t know better). Then of course once you start “building” your system to what you “need” it’s much more expensive than a $799. eMac or $999. iBook – but that’s another story. Calling it the “best online shopping experience” was a bit much. Easy to navigate (once you drill down and get to the consumer prodcuts section of dell site), maybe, but best online experience??! No way.

    Since Apple does have a superior product I do think that there is room for improvement on their Apple Store site. I personally would love them to make it easier to comparison shop the products on the same page. Everything is on the product page or will link you to your info however it’s not as “user proof” I use the tech specs section first because it displays info I need concisely (within productline). I also find the main page a bit cluttered. Most of their main pages are so crisp – there is too much going on in the Apple Store main page. Yes, everything you need is there but looking at the “consumer” again – new users etc. they may get overwhelmed. Where I see candy store they may see tech overload.

  9. The Dell online store is a mess. I do not care what anybody says, it just plain sucks. That aside, the Apple Online Store has room for improvement.
    Example-
    Everytime you make a change the entire page updates, which is flat out wrong. If you wish to buy a number of items or change your selection the experience becomes tedious, even with broadband.
    Solution-
    Why not arrange the online store with a “Finder” type interface? Since the Apple site is one of the most visited on the internet this would be a good way of introducing PC users to the finder.

    It’s time to “Think Different”.

  10. Wow. I’d say go back to the drawing board on this one. Not that I’d rate the Apple Store super high, as much as I love it. The Dell Store has been called confusing and ineffectual by almost every client, I’ve ever sent to it. In fact, for most of my clients I just configure a quote, save it, then create a PDF file for them to view.

    The Dell Store just sucks, but it’s far better than Gateway or another of other PC Stores. Personally, while I think the Apple Store needs some work, I still enjoy going to it, far more than going to the Dell Store.

    Now, the Dell Support area is a bit better. I use the premier support area, which allows you to support hundreds to thousands of machines at the same time. The new interface is confusing, but the amount of support information is good. I like that you can pull up the purchased configuration, download necessary drivers, support documents, etc. Apple’s support area has a tendency the break-up the experience too much. It would be nice to enter a serial number and then just have the information grouped for you.

  11. I bought my first computer from Dell’s website a year and a half ago(first & last mistake). After reading this story, I went to see if their site had changed. IT’S WORSE!!!!

  12. OH Boy, out of the 2100 loser that they found I bet my last dollar. That they are Dell people who did it. Let me tell you DELL SUCKS BAD. They are a bunch of low life , no good , life sucking, back stabbing, ass kissing, di@k sucking, bottom feeding fools.The web site is like a spider web, it’s inviting and once you get in then you are stuck. You look at a pic of junk for$499 and then you get it home to only to go back to the site to order more parts to get it to work , oh yea don’t forget the $39 for spyware per shot. And then you got to call micro$oft to jump start broken windows for the hundred times, Then you call bottom feeding Dell to fix the the hard drive that was broken from windows and the list goes on and on and all for what. To say that you have the fastest pic of junk. And I wonder how many fools this chistmas are go to do this. And they really say that Dell site is easy to use. Like they say that. At the beginning is they YEA and the OH then after is the yelling and the screaming and the hair pulling. Good luck you fools this christmas see you guys at your nearest ER room bring lot’s of body bags. Just get a mac and be happy.

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