Global PC sales fell in the first quarter for the first time in a year and a half and Acer has undoubtedly suffered the most. Over the last couple weeks Acer has swapped CEOs and changed its logo. It’s not a bad start, but the company will need to do more than change CEOs and revamp its logo to stop its free fall.
Go “all in” with tablets – Creating a new tablet division this week was a great first step. This strategy is not for every company, but provides a good opportunity for Acer to rebrand itself and increase its cool factor. The tablet space is still looking for a top tier vendor to aggressively compete on price and Acer has already done this with notebooks and netbooks.
Focus branding – Aspire, Aspire TimelineX, Aspire One, Aspire One Happy? Acer needs to clean these up and define their focus. This goes for its Gateway and eMachines brands, too. If you look at the market leaders and innovators Acer wants to emulate, they each have clear distinctions between their brands (think HP’s Envy and Pavilion series or Lenovo’s ThinkPad and IdeaPad lines). Dedicate one of your lines to compete on price (Acer’s strength) but bring something new to the table and define the difference. You don’t have to out-innovate everyone but adding an extra USB port and some additional storage isn’t going to get people excited.
Improve customer experience – There is a strong correlation between customer support reviews and sales this quarter. According to Laptop Mag, Acer was one of the worst at customer support. Are they ever going to be Apple or Lenovo? No. But take some notes and start putting together a plan to turn your massive user base into lifetime loyalists. Start with your customer support logs… those are gold mines!
Yes, there is a lot of advice left to be given. Acer must eventually increase margins (currently at a low 2.3%), but this will be significantly easier to do once the three issues above are taken care of. Acer appears to be addressing its over-reliance on netbooks by pushing into the tablet space but this still leaves the company with a large over-reliance on the consumer. Acer will have to improve its appeal to businesses in the long run, but let’s get the consumer taken care of first, eh?.