Brand Experience Breakdown: Why One Entrepreneur Runs His Business with Lenovo

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Editor’s Note: Consumer spending behavior changed rapidly in early 2020. People began making the bulk of their purchases online as states and stores shut down due to a public health emergency that was sweeping the nation. This is the first installment in a series of articles that highlights elements of a consumer’s ecommerce shopping experience. 

When Massachusetts issued a stay-at-home advisory, I realized that I was going to be spending more time at home than I usually do. Knowing this, I wanted to buy something for myself that I could use more now that I was going to be home more. 

I carefully thought about it and, quite honestly, I had a difficult time deciding what to buy. I really didn’t need anything. But after browsing the web for a few days and thinking about what I might want, I decided on something I’d actually been thinking about getting for a while but hadn’t purchased yet—a new personal laptop. 

Beyond my job at Klaviyo, I spend a significant amount of time on my personal laptop since I have a side business. My current laptop was about five years old and it was getting slow, so an upgrade had been on my mind for a while but I hadn’t gone through with it because I didn’t want to spend the money. But now that I was going to be home more than usual, I felt that the time had come to make the purchase. 

How I researched different laptop models based on my needs

Now that I had made up my mind about getting a new laptop, I needed to decide what type of computer I wanted. 

While Apple is a popular brand and what I use for work, I prefer PCs. I’ve worked with one throughout most of my career so I’m very familiar with them. 

Before I purchased my new personal laptop, I had a Lenovo ThinkPad and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s very portable, durable, and reliable, but I was in no way tied to the Lenovo brand—for my new laptop, I was open to exploring any other PC brand. 

When thinking about what I wanted in a new computer, the big selling points for me were the battery life, monitor size, weight of the laptop, and the overall durability based on customer reviews. I don’t need the fastest laptop with the most storage because I don’t need to store tons of documents on it.

Since I wasn’t tied to a specific brand and needed to educate myself on laptops in general, I started my research very broadly. 

I did a Google search around “the best PC laptops.” I clicked on the first link that came up from Laptop Mag and read through the list. At the top of the list was a Dell model (the XPS 13). I had previously worked with a Dell and had no complaints, so I dug a bit deeper. 

Every review was great, but it was definitely more expensive than the other options. Once I saw the price, it got me thinking about how much money I really wanted to spend. I didn’t have a dollar amount in mind as I started my research. I wanted my research to help me determine what my budget should be based on my very broad needs. 

As I read through the features and reviews of the XPS, I decided that it didn’t make sense to spend a few hundred dollars more on a top of the line laptop. I went back to that search result and read the reviews of other products on the list. I noticed a Lenovo model which made me think to myself, “You know what? I’ve enjoyed my current laptop, so why don’t I look at Lenovo again?” 

Why I decided to buy from Lenovo’s website

I started researching the best Lenovo laptops and looked at reviews of them based on the key features I was looking for (battery life, durability, and portability). 

I not only researched secondary sites, but I also looked at the customer reviews for a few different models on Lenovo’s website. I decided that the features of a middle-tier product would meet my needs, so a budget of around $800 would work well for me.  

I looked at the models on Lenovo’s website and at BestBuy. BestBuy had a number of options and a robust sorting filter with a price match guarantee. But, I was a bit overwhelmed with the way they had the laptops laid out and organized—the site was very busy and I couldn’t really determine the differences between the models.

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I read the reviews for several models, including the ThinkPad and the ThinkBook options. The ThinkBook model was sold out since it was so new, but it didn’t have any reviews. The ThinkPad model had a 4.2 out of five stars, so I combed through the reviews and found most of them were very positive. But I was still interested in learning more about the ThinkBook model.

I went directly to the Lenovo site to explore the ThinkBook section and I noticed that not only did they have the ThinkBook in stock, but they had a promotion running that would take more than $400 off the price. Additionally, they had models with different sizes of memory to choose from and customer reviews that I could read. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive (4.5 out of five stars).

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My decision was made. The $400 discount and the positive reviews certainly helped. But also, I always feel more confident making purchases like this directly from the manufacturer. In the event something goes wrong with the product, I can then work directly with the manufacturer rather than a secondary source that would likely point me back to the manufacturer anyway. 

My experience making a purchase on Lenovo’s website

After looking through numerous customer reviews, I decided to purchase the ThinkBook 14. Based on the features that I was looking for, my budget, and the reviews that I read, this laptop was the best fit for me. I selected the computer and added it to my cart. 

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As I was going through the checkout process, I saw a number of upsell options. 

Lenovo asked me if I wanted to buy a protection plan, additional software programs, and accessories for the computer. I found these add-on elements to be distracting—I like to just buy and be done with it.

But in this case, I ended up buying the $39 protection plan for an extra year of coverage in the event that something went wrong with the computer. If I was spending approximately $800 on a computer, I thought it was worth an extra $39 to add extra protection in case something malfunctioned. I decided I could always add on extra software or hardware later, so I didn’t buy any of those items.

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As I was about to check out I noticed a message about a shipping delay—the computer wouldn’t ship for about five weeks. For any other type of product, this would have turned me off, but since I wasn’t in a rush to get it, the delay was ok with me. 

Lenovo clearly laid out a delivery timeline and helped to set clear expectations for me as the consumer. I went ahead and completed the purchase, and I’m now the proud owner of a new Lenovo laptop.

How to Communicate Shipping and Transactional Updates

The post-purchase process

After I purchased the laptop, I got an email right away confirming my order. Once again, Lenovo clearly laid out the timeline and set my expectations about when the product would ship. 

The post-purchase email I received had a status bar that I could click on to track when the laptop would ship.

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About four weeks after I placed the order, I got a note from Lenovo saying they had encountered a speed bump and that my laptop wouldn’t be arriving until July.

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Given everything that’s going on in the world, I wasn’t too upset. But only a week after I got that email, I got another notification indicating that my computer had shipped and that I’d receive it in early June.

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What I found to be interesting was that I didn’t receive any sort of cross-sell or upsell emails during this process. I don’t love getting bombarded with marketing emails, but I would have expected at least a few from post-purchase emails. 

Instead, I receive a number of upsell and cross-sell opportunities during the purchase process itself. It’s nice that they didn’t hit me again with those same opportunities, but drawing on my own experience as an ecommerce entrepreneur, Lenovo could potentially create a series of post-purchase emails specifically targeted toward those customers, like myself, who chose not to purchase any additional software or accessories at the time of purchase. 

Big-ticket items, like a laptop, often require a tight budget, so by introducing customers to additional relevant options after their original purchase, Lenovo could deepen the relationship they’ve begun building with their customers and influence additional purchases. 

Another area where I think Lenovo has some more opportunities to build relationships with customers is in their “getting started experience.” 

While my computer was in the process of being shipped, I didn’t get any emails about how I should go about preparing to set up and optimize my computer once I received it. It would have been beneficial for Lenovo to send me an email with something along the lines of “helpful tips to prepare for your new computer.” When people buy a new computer, they usually transfer files from an old computer so Lenovo could provide customers some helpful tips around that topic while they await the arrival of their new computer.  

Unboxing the laptop

On June 5th, the computer arrived at my doorstep via UPS. I needed to sign for it and it arrived in a relatively small box.

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After receiving the laptop, the unboxing experience was relatively easy and straightforward. The package simply contained the computer, a packet of directions and that’s it. Although the packaging was minimal, I was eager to open the box, turn on my computer, and start using it. Once I took the computer out of the box, I turned it on and followed the prompts to set it up. Within 10 minutes, it was up and running!

One thing that would’ve been a nice touch would be to have some sort of personalized packaging—perhaps a small note card to welcome me to the Lenovo brand. A computer is an expensive purchase, so receiving some type of personalized note when they receive their package can help the consumer feel more connected to the brand. 

Impressions of my overall experience buying from Lenovo’s website

From researching my options on Lenovo’s website to making the purchase and receiving a series of post-purchase shipping updates from the brand, my overall experience with Lenovo was concise and very straightforward. 

While there are a few areas where Lenovo has the opportunity to personalize the experience more for consumers, I would certainly purchase from Lenovo again and I’d recommend others do the same. They were transparent with the entire process and made buying a high-ticket item online very easy to do. I’m now enjoying my new laptop and look forward to using it for many more years to come. 

Looking for tips on how to send better shipping confirmation emails? Here are seven.

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