In a previous post, we took an overall look at the “used hardware” option for IT purchases. I reviewed the reasons for buying used and presented some concerns and considerations. One alternative option is the “new/open box” hardware. In this post, I will dive a bit deeper into this option, as well as other potential alternatives to a pure “used hardware” option.
The short answer to the question is “yes”.
When looking at options to save dollars on IT purchases, customers will often consider buying “used hardware”. There are a variety of concerns when looking at “used”, and those were covered in our previous post “Why should I buy new hardware when used is less money?”
However, many distributors and after-market vendors will offer an option called “new/open box”. This is an alternative product to “new unopened box”. The manufacturer will package their shipments with specific “logo tape”, indicating a “factory sealed” box. Should this tape become broken, the manufacturer considers the box opened and would no longer sell as “new unopened box”. In the “new/open box” scenario, the vendor has inventory of products which delivered or returned due to order cancellation or incorrect product ordered – not defective. In any case, the manufacturer considers the product “opened” but NOT powered on or configured. Most of the time, “new/open box” comes with the full product warranty and support from manufacturer. This is like returning open electronics to Best Buy (assuming not defective) – the store cannot put it back on the shelf as “new”, but typically will sell at a lower price as “new/open box”. The product is still new, but no longer unopened. Customers can save a few dollars and still get the product with all the “new” warranty and expected performance.
With IT purchases, this is not always an available option depending on the generation of the proposed product or needed features. The latest version of hardware will likely have limited “new/open box” options, but there can still be customer returns resulting in some availability. On the other hand, if you go one or two generations back in hardware, the available “new/open box” options are more plentiful. There are multiple reasons for the “new/open box” inventory, but the most common is a customer who purchased more than they ended up needing, and initially had opened all their product boxes. Now they return the unneeded product to their vendor, but they opened all the boxes. So, vendor accepts the returns and sells them on the market as “new/open box” – with full warranty and manufacturer product support.
Some manufacturers will put limitations on products with open boxes. For example, a manufacturer may only honor the warranty for “new/open box” while the product is considered “current”. If the product comes with a warranty, the warranty may have limitations regarding age of the product itself. Also, similar with “used” hard drives, “new/open box” drives are typically sold with a limited warranty from the vendor (usually guaranteed to work for 30 days), with the recommendation the drives be placed under server or SAN hardware maintenance. The drives usually do not have their own warranty, but assume the coverage of the server or SAN.
The “new/open box” option can be a good deal for customers. Product availability is the biggest hindrance to this option.
A similar option to “new/open box” is the “new bulk” product. With products such as drives (hard drives or solid state), some manufacturers will provide distributors or vendors with an option to purchase a larger prepackaged quantity of the product. Instead of each drive individually sealed by the manufacturer, this will be a larger quantity of the same product in a single box without individual seals. This would benefit businesses providing hardware maintenance or building custom servers. Distributors or vendors will occasionally have an inventory of theses “new bulk” drives, and make then available to customers. If a customer needs to add a few more drives to a SAN or server, these “new bulk” drives will usually be lower cost and come with full manufacturer support. The product itself is the same as “new” yet packaged differently from the “retail new unopened” version – basically it’s a new product without the additional logo tape. Like the “new/open box”, “new bulk” product has limited availability to customers as inventory is not consistent.
In both the “new/open box” and the “new bulk” options, manufacturers will service and maintain the product the same as “new unopened box”.
“New/open box” can be an entirely different customer experience when compared with “used hardware”. While the “used hardware” option can show evidence of previous use, the “new/open box” or “new bulk” products are unused.
We would welcome an opportunity to help you compare a “new” versus “new/open box” hardware purchase, so reach out to Arbor Solutions to see how we can find the option that best fits your business needs. Contact us.
For further discussion on “new versus used hardware”, see our blog “Why should I buy new hardware when used is less money?”