Understanding Price vs. Quality

on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 8:15:00 AM

“The bitterness of poor quality remains after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” –Benjamin Franklin

Even Ben Franklin had it right…and that was before the internet! It always comes full circle. Whether you are in the market for furniture, clothing, groceries, or especially electronics…you get what you pay for!

Let me explain. With the popularity of internet shopping continuing to grow leaps and bounds, the conundrum of quality vs. price is a battle we all face. We don’t want to overpay, however we all know that the “amazing” low price we see, often times results in disappointment.So how do we shop smart? What should you look for? Even in our industry of server racks, cabinets, and technical furniture there is some key information to look out for. Here are a few tips to help you increase your satisfaction with your purchase.

1) Know What You Want

Whenever you start the buying process it is always good to have general idea of what you want. List out the must-haves and make sure that the products you’re looking at minimally meet those requirements. For instance, size, weight capacity, and functionality are usually features you will want to know ahead of time before choosing IT infrastructure products. Don’t let yourself get drawn into a great deal on a product that only meets half your needs. It will result in long-term disappointment

2) Spec Check

Many times if you have found a product or service for a price that is way lower than everything else, there is probably a good reason why. Make sure you look closely at the specifications of the product and ensure the construction and materials are what you expect. For example, if a server rack states it will hold 5,000 lbs., but it is made of 18 awg material, I would be very suspicious. If it states what parts or pieces come with the product, I’d suggest looking through that as well. Sometimes the picture may appear to be exactly what you’re looking for, however, buried deep in the specifications it may state that the seller is only selling part of the solution. Take a few extra minutes to comb through the details and you will save you a lot of money in the long run.

3) Read the Reviews

Consumers for the most part are brutally honest, and isn’t that what you want to hear? Most e-tailers have a section for customer reviews. Some even have the ability for consumers to post pictures of the product they received. Take some time to read the reviews to see what their thoughts on the product were, and also browse through the pictures to check out if what they received looks the same as what is being advertised. Some of the more “sketchy” online sites will use photographs of a similar product to advertise their knock-off. So it is always good to see that what people are receiving is what is pictured.

4)Research the Seller

When purchasing something online, I usually get a positive or negative vibe from the overall website pretty quickly. Trust your gut on that! Some key information to look for may be:

  • Contact Information – Can you easily contact them for pre-sale or customer service support?
  • Return Policy – Do they have one? If so, is it fair?
  • Warranty Information – Does the seller offer any type of a warranty, or do they honor and assist with the manufacturer’s warranties?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee – Does the seller offer a satisfaction guarantee?

These services are very important, and with most “bargains” you are not guaranteed support should something go array. Make sure you trust the seller and have confidence in their business before choosing to purchase through them.

5) Research the Manufacturer

Many online sellers will list the manufacture of the product they are selling. It’s a good idea to check out the manufacturer’s website to not only verify the information that the seller has listed, but also to get a little more insight into the company that is actually making the product. Do they stand behind what they make? What does the manufacture pride themselves on? The quality of their products? Their unprecedented customer service? Being the cheapest in the industry? Most of the time this information can be found on their website, and can be very helpful in your decision to buy their product. You can also look for customer reviews on the manufacturer’s website.

Managing the balance between quality and price can be tricky, but by being informed and setting clear expectations before clicking the checkout button, can make each purchasing experience a better one. I don’t believe that Ben Franklin’s quote means to never buy inexpensive products. Rather I believe it means if you buy something for what seems like a great price, manage your expectations on the quality of that product. We at Kendall Howard know that there is a time and a place for a more inexpensive option. For example, in our line of Cantilever Rack Shelves, we have light, medium, and heavy duty categories. Our light duty shelves are perfect for an installer who has to mount devices weighing less than 25 lbs., while our heavy duty shelves are able to support upwards of 120 lbs. for those really heaving pieces of equipment. And as you have probably guessed, the price of the shelves grow the more heavy duty the shelves are. The problem occurs when consumers purchase a light duty product, such as our Economy Rack Shelves, at a great price, but expect our Heavy Duty Rack Shelves to be in the box!

So to make your buying experience a more positive one, use the tips above to do your research and set realistic expectations. Happy shopping!

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