Alienware needs to place EU reps at major forums
Alienware isn't properly tapping the European Union market. AW is present in a good part of the EU countries, but some of the most peripheric ones are lacking. In particular, the rich Nordic countries (Sweden and Finland at least), some southern countries (Portugal), the Baltic states and ex-Soviet Union countries do not have access to Alienware products from Dell directly. Our only option is to buy from expensive and non-reliable resellers like HIDevolution, Media Markt, etc. Please see these links to find out why these resellers are actually hurting Alienware's image in Europe:
Media Markt and FNAC (in Portugal)
HIDevolution (UK-based, ships to the whole EU)
These countries, together, make up more than 20% of the EU GDP, and even more of its population! And in these countries, to put it simply, you CANNOT buy an Alienware laptop and be happy about it. See the P.S. of this post to see why.
Dell needs to tap the EU market properly. For this, a very simple step would go a long way: Place one or two EU reps in well-known forums, with the power to handle minor problems in EU purchases. I am thinking of something similar to Bill_B's excellent job at the NotebookReview.com forums regarding US purchases. See this link for proof of how appreciated his work is. Other Dell reps, like Allan (who is the sales rep at that forum), are also highly regarded. Allan in particular has been responsible for multiple sales of AW systems on that forum alone.
These EU reps should have the power to make the following happen:
1) Give quotes for any AW system, shipped to anywhere in the EU, with the appropriate keyboard layout, and the appropriate warranty support. It is not relevant whether the system comes from the German AW site, the UK site, or whatever. They are never assembled at those locations anyway!
2) Solve any problems that arise in pre-sale, sale, and post-sale.
Come on, Dell. We want to give you our money. Why won't you take it??
Someone who has been wanting an M14x since it was announced, has plenty of money to buy it, and still doesn't own one.
P.S.: For reference, here is what it is like to try to buy an Alienware in one such country:
1) Want to buy an Alienware? Search "alienware" on Google. Find out that AW does not sell in your country. Half of your potential buyers (probably more) give up right here.
2) Still not giving up? Search "buy alienware in <country>". Find the websites of Media Markt, FNAC, HIDevolution, etc.
2a) Go to Media Markt or FNAC. Find out that they sell previous-generation AW models at a price higher than current-gen ASUS gaming laptops. Buy ASUS. Tell your friends about ASUS gaming laptops being better than Alienware laptops. There goes another chunk of your potential market, Dell.
2b) Willing to take a chance? Buy from HIDevolution. Pay over 2000€ for your laptop, wait several weeks with no confirmation of order or shipping, and pray that HIDevolution doesn't tell you that your laptop was stolen in transit and you will receive a refund, minus a charge of 600€ (don't believe me? Follow the link above). Again, no market share for you, Dell.
2c) Still, you decided to go ahead and bought an Alienware laptop? Good for you. Oops, is there a problem? Warranty should take care of it, right? Ah, not really. Media Markt and FNAC have some of the worst customer support out there. Forget about on-site support, and expect 2-3 weeks whenever you resort to the warranty. And HIDevolution doesn't even have post-sales support. Why would anyone pay extra for Alienware, when they cannot customize the system, and they cannot benefit from AW's warranty?
3) Wait! How about you buy from one of the EU countries which do have an AW site? After all, there are no custom taxes within the EU. Fire up one such site. Ask to chat with a rep. Tell him that you are from country X and would like to buy an Alienware lapt... he immediately interrupts you and tells you that it is not possible. Whoever was resilient enough to reach this point finally gives up and uses the money for something else.