Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Ultimate 6-Step Guide to Shield You for the Christmas and Year-End Shopping Frenzy (Electronics Gadgets specific)

Santa's Top Elf Boy ready to spread JOY to the world
The Christmas and end of the year is coming soon, and all the top electronics giants specifically are setting up their big marketing guns to aim at our hard-earned money (and some inherited from their ancestors) to splurge on their products. Personally, I love to buy stuff, but as I grow older, I notice how hard I worked for my money, and truly want to spend it on stuff that I only truly needs - hence that's my Buyer's Psychology. Besides, being of limited resources, I truly enjoy the idea of not owning anything precious or expensive. When you are of limited resources, you learn to enjoy everything you owned and waste lesser than those who are reasonably richer with cash to splurge on the latest. So how do normal folks like us who wants to buy some really cool, expensive electronic gadget once in a blue moon, without being conned by the electronic giants? Below are some Strategic Steps you should follow before embarking on your shopping spree:

STEP 1: Do Research
Lately, I've developed a secret wanting to buy a smartphone. But there are simply so many options! You have Apple, Samsung, HTC and even traditional internet companies like Google and Microsoft are rolling out smartphones! But beyond smartphones, there is another category of hot internet device - the tablet! Oh my, in my college days, owning a notebook was already considered "it". And now, Samsung is pioneering the in-between smartphone and tablet category by launching the Galaxy Note. In the midst of these dizzying array of devices, one must really do research online. I often bet 2 devices against each other, say Iphone 4s vs Samsung Galaxy Note or Ipad2 vs Galaxy Tab. Now you must remember, there are newer and better models being released every quarter year or so, so even that you have to keep yourself up-to-date. Not to mention the operating system softwares: Froyo ( not Frodo from LOTR, ai-yo-yo), Gingerbread (my bread only with kaya, no ginger please!), Honeycomb, Ice-cream Sandwich (sounds delicious) and of course Apple's own OS5. Unfortunately in Malaysia, we seem to receive the latest models 2 or 3 months after it was launched. When the product is launched, go and test out. Be aware of the promotions offered by our local telcos companies, but usually the bundled packages make you spend more for things you don't really need and use fully to its capacity.

See my eyes, you're now under my spell...
STEP 2: Don't let others influence your purchase decision
Often in the LRT, I can observe some people popping out their devices and busily typing or multi-touching away their screen. It can be quite disheartening when a person is doing that and you're next to him or her. You tried not to peek at their multi-touch super LCD, AMOLED, or Retina Display, but you simply cannot help it - simply for the damn reason it is there! And it's always fun to watch the clips or games they are playing, and wish you have one just like that. Now, hold on to your horses! It is at this precise moment that you must stop, and think. Personally for me, I find devices like these irritating. Some people think you're Jealous of their "superior" device, when noticed you're peeking (unintentionally), they turned their shoulders back at you with the devices away from you, as if to protect their so-called privacy. Well, then in the first place, you shouldn't be multi-touching your device in public places (multi-touch yourself instead of your device, haha). Having that irritation often repels me from considering that particular brand in my purchase decision. Hopefully that will help you too.

Looking for my "baby"
STEP 3: Know your real needs for the product
I have a friend who owned a Galaxy Tab 7inch which is an old model, and he's simply satisfied with it. He told me that all he needs from his device is to surf the internet (then he would go on and complained how hopeless our country's wi-fi connection is). Of course, he won't make any calls using his device primarily because he has another handphone (cheapo type). Listening to his incessantly negative babble (he worked as a journalist before), I actually learned something. Why on Earth would I want a smartphone or a tablet for? I am happy as I am, I got a Sony walkman to listen to when I commute, and a netbook I can surf the net. Suddenly I discovered that I could actually use the device to keep my appointments and to-do list, paperless and toss away the the Good, Old Diary. That would be good for the environment, right? So I went and tried out the Galaxy Note - unfortunately, I find using the S-Pen quite slow for me, because I write fast. And the S-Pen response lacks the speed I was looking for as compared to good old traditional pen and paper. Of course, you must also know what sort of environment you're in when using the device. Like myself, I'm always on the go, would I be comfortable multi-touching my Ipad while walking? Would I accidentally bump into another person in the street, causing my head to went straight into my Ipad screen and detonate an explosion? Would I be comfortable drawing using my S-Pen on the Galaxy Note or the Magic Pen on the HTC Flyer while waiting for a bus, thus keeping me totally immersed with my device and causing me to miss my bus?

STEP 4: Be aware of the effects of advertising
I worked in the advertising industry before, so I know how it affects purchase decision. What's more, I worked as an actor in our local entertainment before, so I know when to avoid buying anything whenever I see a local celebrity endorsing a particular brand of electronics, restaurant or fashion retail outlet. Seriously, advertising works in mischievous ways without you realising it. Remember the recent demise of Apple founder Steve Jobs? The announcement of his death was barely 24 hours after the launch of Iphone 4s. In my super-conductive mind, it made me suspect his death was earlier except and they might held onto the news from the public until after the launch of the product? And see how the sales skyrocketed! I do respect the company, its philosophy, its products and the founder, but not to the point of being an evangelist. So back to my purchase decision, you truly need to clear your mind from the influences of the media before purchasing anything. Don't subliminally con me to buy your product out of some emotional deception, because I won't. Don't deceive me by showing how many others are using it, because I am not like the many others, I am unique. I've got a friend who always say Apple is the best, anything must buy Apple (what the heck! Small screen - must squint your eyes, no Long Term Evolution etc). Personally as an artiste, I will not subject my expressive eyes to such an ordeal of squinting at a small screen. Well, you're in the herd, baby. Remember: buying an Apple product doesn't make you any smarter, think more different or design-wise more superior than others. That's the company, not you dummy.

I always tell my students - you have choices.
STEP 5: List your choices
Before you can come to this step, you need to go through the ones before this. As for myself, I have decided to go for the tablet, because I don't need a smartphone to call people. I only need information on the go, since I am always outside. Remember, once you decided a category of products to purchase, there's a few brand names competing within the category itself in Specs Supremacy alone, so you have another round of head-bunking to do. Now I am writing as someone from a limited resources standpoint, but if you have money to splurge, by all means get both the tablet and smartphone. Once you have your list ready, eliminate the ones you don't want. I know it's hard because all the products out there look so good - the Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy SII, Iphone 4s, Ipad 2, Galaxy Tab Plus etc. But remember you are spending hundreds of ringgit, some even surpassing RM2000! Don't go broke from buying stuff you don't need, that's all I'm telling you.

Silence and Patience...Santa is coming.
STEP 6: And finally, patience
Once you purchase an electronics devise, stick with it, and use it fully and with a feeling of happiness. I remember I bought my latest Sony Walkman, and 2 weeks after that, the touchscreen model was launched. I regretted a bit for purchasing it, but after much thought, I feel I have to stand for my purchase decision. No doubt the latest Sony Walkman has Bluetooth with touchscreen (capacitive or otherwise ), and costs almost RM800, where else my current one was three hundred bucks less than that. If the price falls within that range, I better get an Ipod right? But I learnt my lesson, and that is patience. Don't go crazy over some launch, and buy stuff you'll regret later - there's no point. I know I want to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7inch, but it's not even available! What to do? And how about the Asus Transformer Prime which has the fastest processing speed, as claimed? Patience, wait and see - this type of attitude gives me more time to consider maybe an Ipad2, and also to save up money later for an Ipad 3 with phone functions and even a stylus? (Damn, if the current release of tablets' price ranges is the same as Ipad2, I'll wait for the Ipad3). I remembered anticipating the Galaxy Note, but when it was launched, immediately I was having second thoughts of buying it because I finally went through all the steps I've listed here. Hopefully, it'll help guide you too in this upcoming crazy shopping season before you depart your hard-earned cash. At the end of the day, you might not even spend a ringgit purchasing after you go through my steps, which is not a bad thing after all. But the economy only works when you spend. Why not spend on other stuff (like a short course in upgrading your skills?), not only on electronics gadgets which becomes instantly dated less than a year. Electronics companies are good at witholding and releasing one great feature at a time, causing the consumers to spend bundles on one. Later only to discover there's another new, better and shinier feature -  causing the consumer to spend unnecessary. As for me, I'll just end up not buying and spend my days watching stupid TV shows. (Suddenly I feel like some super-everything-must-be-perfect freak) Unlike taking a Communications Course, where all the good stuff are revealed to you at once, no holding back. Knowledge stays in-style, in-trend for good. A good Communications Strategy Coach will do you even more good like preparing you for Reality TV ShowsCasting and exude Your Inner Star Quality. So what are you waiting for? Quickly decide what you want to buy now.....or at least before the year ends.

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