When it comes to new IT hardware, specs and data are helpful in determining if a specific device will work in the given environment.
Even the most detailed datasheet falls short of actually using the equipment, though.
However, many manufacturers don’t offer anything more than a demo to allow customers to see products in action before purchasing them. Cisco Meraki is an exception.
For customers who want to try out IT products and have that hands-on experience with them, Cisco Meraki offers Try and Buy, the equivalent of test-driving.
As the name suggests, Try and Buy allows new and existing customers to test almost all of the company’s products (not all at once, though).
By testing out Meraki equipment in your specific IT environment for your specific use case, you can determine if the devices will help you meet your goals.
At the KR Group, we’ve found our customers generally have three questions about Cisco Meraki Try and Buy:
- Who is Try and Buy for?
- What is the process of signing up for Try and Buy?
- What are my choices at the end of the Try and Buy period?
While you can go through these steps on your own, you’ll receive the most value from Try and Buy by going through a Cisco partner (who’s also authorized to sell Meraki gear). With the wide variety of models for each of Meraki’s products, a partner will be able to narrow the options to what will work best for you.
Who is a good fit for Meraki Try and Buy?
Whether you’re looking to test your first or 100th Meraki products, there are many scenarios where customers can benefit from Try and Buy.
In general, this program allows any customer to experiment with Meraki products and solutions before making a financial commitment.
Some common instances we see customers using Try and Buy include:
1. A business considering if it’s necessary to refresh its IT infrastructure.
If this situation sounds like you, Try and Buy can help you see the difference newer products offer.
Instead of wondering if a new product is worth the investment, you can plug it in and test the hardware in your environment.
At the end of your trial, you can decide whether or not the new technology is something you could benefit from.
2. A business curious what switching to cloud-managed products would look like.
Meraki is the leader in cloud-based products, which can be a change for some companies, and change can be scary.
If you want to try Meraki’s cloud-based products without committing to them, Try and Buy allows you to see if the technology works for your needs.
3. A business looking to compare Meraki products to other manufacturer’s.
By trying Meraki products, you can see if the device you’re interested in performs as well, better, or worse than the Cisco (or any other brand) alternative you’ve been using.
4. A business looking to compare Meraki products against other Meraki products.
Another great reason to take advantage of Try and Buy is that it allows you to decide which Meraki product is right for you.
Like any IT device manufacturer, Meraki offers multiple models in their product lines. If you can’t decide between two models, you can try each out (one at a time) and see which one works best in your environment.
The Meraki Try and Buy Process
If you’re interested in Try and Buy for a specific Meraki product, work with your Cisco Meraki partner to order the equipment you want to test.
Once it arrives, Meraki provides technical support to get you set up. (Technical support from your Cisco Meraki partner is not included in Try and Buy, though.)
Starting when you receive your Try and Buy package, you have two weeks to test the product or products in your IT environment with zero risks.
Available Options at the End of Meraki’s Free Trial
When the two weeks are up, you’ll have to decide whether to keep or return the products.
While two weeks is typically enough time for you to get a feel for the products, if you feel like you need an extension, you can reach out to your sales representative about possible extensions.
1. Keeping your Meraki Try and Buy products
Ideally, testing your trial Meraki products will confirm you need or can use whatever hardware you ordered through Try and Buy.
In this case, you simply keep the Meraki products and pay the invoice you’ll receive for your new equipment.
In fact, the purchasing portion of Try and Buy is no different than if you were to buy without trying.
If for some reason you forget to pay the invoice, not only will Cisco Meraki cancel licensing to the device(s) – and render them useless – it could also interrupt service to your existing Meraki network if you have one.
In other words, if you want to keep the products from your Try and Buy, make sure you pay your invoices.
2. Returning your Meraki Try and Buy products
If at any point during your Meraki Try and Buy trial, you are unhappy with the hardware you’re testing, you simply return it to Cisco Meraki.
To do this, you’ll need to use your Meraki Dashboard to view your active trials. By clicking on the order number, the dashboard will direct you to the trial URL where you can initiate a return.
If you’re a customer in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico), a European Union member country, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, you’ll receive a prepaid shipping label. Customers in other countries will need to pay to return the products to Cisco Meraki.
Then, you box up your hardware, attach the shipping label and send it back to the manufacturer.
Next steps for Meraki Try and Buy
At The KR Group, we find it hard to make a case against Cisco Meraki’s Try and Buy program.
If you have any uncertainties about a specific product, trying the product for two weeks allows you to answer the questions you have and see first-hand if the solution is for you.
Through the program, Meraki’s goal is to ensure you know the product will work in your specific IT environment.
So how do you sign up? Reach out to The KR Group to be connected with a sales representative who can walk you through the process and get your Try and Buy products on their way to you.