Although being able to buy technology online isn't a new option, a few specialized Web sites offering different manufacturers' products are grabbing considerable attention. These Internet "superstores" sell hardware and software products and boast selections that are hard to beat.
BuyersZone (http://www.buyerszone.com) is such a site, offering one of the most well-rounded selections. It's a great place to start your research if you want to analyze the benefits of a certain technology. If you'd like a new inkjet printer, for instance, BuyersZone has a "Buyers' Guide" that contains an objective summary of all the latest features and capabilities of products on the market. There's also a Resource Center with links to vendors' Web sites for more product information, as well as publications for sale that analyze products in greater detail.
If you already know what you're looking for, BuyersZone is also a great place to shop. Everything from desktop computers and printers to office supplies, overnight delivery services and calling cards are offered here. Click on Vendors Expo and browse through a list of manufacturers you can contact, or sign up with a vendor referral service to have a local vendor get back to you. And while you're visiting BuyersZone, be sure to check out the Goody Bag, which gives the skinny on companies that are slashing prices or offering freebies.
Although less useful as an educational tool, the Worldwide Superstore (http://www.worldwidesuperstore.com) boasts more than 20,000 computer products for sale. Click on the Shop icon, and all the computer items for sale are listed alphabetically. You can easily compare features and pricing for several products by using an option that lists them side by side. The information about each product appears somewhat limited, however, so you may need to visit the vendors' Web sites for more information before buying. When you're ready to order, call the toll-free number listed on the site or enter a credit card number to have the products shipped directly to you.
The Computing Shop is another shopping stop accessible via the Web (http://www.computingshop.com) or through CompuServe. If you're interested in the leading business software, this is one place to drop by. Hundreds of products are organized by business function; for example, "Get Organized" contains scheduling software for sale and "Protect Your PC" has PC maintenance software. Much of the software can be purchased and then immediately downloaded.
Finally, NexC International (http://www.nexc.com) has a Home & Office Computer Center with hardware and software products at good prices. Here you can easily search for items by product, manufacturer or category; view the top 20 bestselling products; and order computer equipment by furnishing your credit card number or calling a toll-free number.
Web sites like these can make buying high-tech equipment a snap. Best of all, they're a great way for busy entrepreneurs to investigate a large variety of technology products in the shortest amount of time.
You won't have the selection you would if you purchased online, but you'll never have as much fun buying a computer system than when you purchase from Stupid PC. The Norcross, Georgia, company started last June manufactures a low-cost, bare-bones computer system for first-time buyers and technophobes. But here's where it gets a little strange: Computers are delivered in Volkswagen Beetles by computer "geeks" with bow ties and pocket protectors.
Stupid PC is the brainchild of Bart Brannon and Gary German, both 36, who wanted to create an all-in-one solution for small office/home office computer buyers. "By delivering and installing a PC that's fully configured, we're trying to make the whole [buying] process a little less intimidating," German explains.
For $795, the Stupid PC comes with your choice of a Pentium or AMD 133 MHz processor, a 2GB hard drive, 16MB RAM, a 33.6 fax modem and a monitor. Delivery, installation and one hour of free training are also included.
The Stupid PC is currently sold through two retail stores in the Atlanta area; the company plans to expand to at least 25 more cities nationwide this June. It can also be purchased by calling (888) 3-STUPID or via the Internet at http://www.stupidpc.com