View Full Version : [all variants] System 76 Retail Store

January 26th, 2009, 03:13 PM
I just wanted to throw that idea out there. (Even though I know this forums is for support I thought it best here.)

I've been think about the idea for an Ubuntu store. Not to start a flame thread but I've always admired Apple stores and the concept where a brand name has a retail outlet. They also have had much success with that venture and convincing people to switch from Windows. It seems like that would be a huge step to get people to switch if there was a physical place in there community where they could go. I think Apple has also demonstrated that many people are willing to pay outrageous prices for this comfort. I'm not saying that the Ubuntu community should mimic Apple but having a retail store was a big factor in switch from windows to Apple and it got me started on my way to Linux for that matter.

I was wondering if there are any retail stores that sell and support system76 computers and what people thought of the idea of an Ubuntu store?

January 26th, 2009, 03:30 PM
I've often thought the same thing. There are a number of things Apple does that irritate me, but they've got the sales and marketing thing down.

The thing is, the cost of running an online store is significantly lower than running a brick and mortar store. You have to pay for the store front (which is a lot more expensive than having an office for running a website and researching hardware), you have to have quite a few knowledgeable sales reps to keep the store open all day every day.

And right now Ubuntu isn't well known enough to bring in sufficient business. With an online store, you can market to anyone in America who is looking for your product. With a physical storefront, you're limited to the people who drive by, or at least live close enough to make a point of visiting.

With the higher operating costs and the smaller base of potential customers, I don't see this happening for a while. If Ubuntu ever picks up in popularity, it might become more plausible, but it's going to need more name recognition first.

January 26th, 2009, 05:13 PM
Agreed on all points.

We currently do not have a storefront or place our computers with any other retailers.

January 26th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Considering the fate of national retailers like Circuit City, I too do not think this is the model to follow. The costs of the storefront, plus the retail/commission model used by the big box stores would not work for Linux.

Specialty stores, the "hole in the wall" places might. These are the small stores that generally offer the more high-end components and custom build systems, to the more discerning customer. Because of this, they would be better suited to sell Ubuntu or other Linux systems. However, they are also niche-fillers, and do not offer the marketing muscle of a national chain like Best Buy or Future Shop. And, a large percentage of them already are well familiar with Linux. That's how I got started on Linux; I was introduced to it by another customer at one such place I used to frequent, on the laptop he'd brought with him.

So, I definitely agree that if there was a mechanism to get more non-Linux users to interact with a Linux box, it would explode the market. Consider the poor girl who ordered a computer from Dell, but did not pay attention to the fact that she was ordering one with Ubuntu installed, about which she knew nothing. Had she encountered Ubuntu at a storefront, she may well have had an entirely different (and positive) experience, and may have even converted.

Last week, I had my chance to evangelize. I was traveling through Heathrow Airport in London with my System76 Serval Pro. I was at a cafe in Terminal 1, playing around with some music files on my attached mp3 player, and noticed this guy sitting next to me was looking at my system intently. I showed him my Serval - a beautiful machine with its glorious WUXGA display - and my Ubuntu layout, customized with Mac4Lin. I demonstrated its ease of use and power. He'd never heard of either, but was suitably impressed enough to express interest in looking into Linux further. I even gave him the bootable DVD from the Linux Format mag I'd just bought, so he could try it out on his own system.

In the perfect world, people could go to a Best Buy or some other national chain, touch and play with a Linux-loaded computer, and see for themselves the FOSS way. I bet a huge number would, in comparing a Linux distro side by side with a Vista or even Mac system, would choose Linux. Even if they didn't, they would at least know what Linux is, and that would also be good.