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Dell aims to sell PCs at big box retailers

Since its inception, Dell Inc. made itself famous for pioneering the direct-sales model, selling directly to customers and skipping the sales channel altogether. Last year however, Dell watched its numbers dwindle compared to long time rival HP, losing both revenue and market share. Couple Dell's market performance with an investigation into its financial practices, and Dell's former CEO Kevin Rollins resigned from the company, leaving Michael Dell to take back the helm.

Dell's return as CEO to the company he founded is already making waves. Dell this week announced that along with its current method of sales, it will now look into selling through retail channels.

Retail is not entirely new to Dell. The company has kiosks in shopping centers throughout the U.S. and Canada, promoting its line of desktops, notebooks and even flat screen televisions. Dell says its kiosks bring in a good amount of business, if not directly then at least by promoting awareness of the company for sales online.

Dell sent a memo throughout the company this week hinting at the changes within the company and its goal to reach a wider audience. The fact remains that a lot of customers still want to see and touch before putting down their hard earned money. Dell indicated that it was already in touch with several big-box retailers and that there would be an aggressive push into the retail channel.

"The direct model was a revolution. It's not a religion," said Dell. Analysts are curious to see what implications the move will have on Dell's direct sales as well as its competition.

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Ah, nice!
By Josh7289 on 5/21/2007 4:01:18 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Ah, nice!
By bkiserx7 on 5/21/2007 4:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
Dell is good at what they do, and honestly I would rather see a Dell in Wally World then see a posE-Machine.

RE: Ah, nice!
By frobizzle on 5/21/2007 4:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
Dell is good at what they do, and honestly I would rather see a Dell in Wally World then see a posE-Machine.

Oh please! How are Dell POS crap boxes any better or worse than E-Machines (known in some circles as Squatting Dragon Brand?)

RE: Ah, nice!
By retrospooty on 5/21/2007 6:10:47 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, Dell isnt as bad as they used to be. They certainly arent top of the line overclocking machines, but they are reliable and perform as they should for basic PC's. I am glad to see this move.

RE: Ah, nice!
By GoatMonkey on 5/22/2007 8:54:02 AM , Rating: 2
And when they do break, the support guys have had enough time to improve their English that you might be able to understand them now.

RE: Ah, nice!
By retrospooty on 5/22/2007 10:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
LOL... I dont know about thier support, like most companies its a crap shoot. You might get an idiot, or you might get lucky.

RE: Ah, nice!
By kingpotnoodle on 5/22/2007 7:32:20 AM , Rating: 2
Bought some Dell desktops for work recently, the spec was higher than I could have done had I bought parts, the build quality was excellent for the money and the machines were tidy inside and well put together, I was pleasantly suprised.

It's never going to be a company making first class custom built enthusiast machines - but for average joe and IT managers who need cheap workstations they are doing a good job in my opinion.

RE: Ah, nice!
By Tsuwamono on 5/21/2007 5:05:08 PM , Rating: 5
why does it matter if the POS has a dell logo or E-Machine?

RE: Ah, nice!
By bigboxes on 5/21/2007 6:05:52 PM , Rating: 3
Dell. E-machines. What's the difference?

RE: Ah, nice!
By piroroadkill on 5/21/2007 7:06:39 PM , Rating: 1
Dell is much better than e-Machines in build quality

RE: Ah, nice!
By frobizzle on 5/21/2007 8:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
And what do you base that statement on?

RE: Ah, nice!
By radams on 5/21/2007 8:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Consumer reports

RE: Ah, nice!
By mxzrider2 on 5/21/2007 11:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
CR is the worst thing ever. read up on a magazine made for computers not lame people that don't know the difference between black plastic and white plastic

RE: Ah, nice!
By jtesoro on 5/22/2007 12:54:24 AM , Rating: 3
There are benefits of evaluating products from a purely "ordinary consumer" perspective. There's generally little hype, and evaluations are based simply on whether it meets one's needs at the right price. Considering a huge percentage of people aren't enthusiasts, then that kind of reporting is very useful.

RE: Ah, nice!
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:07:59 AM , Rating: 2
Well let me tell you as a technician that dells are the worst (along with gateway) of all the PCs i have had the displeasure of servicing.

RE: Ah, nice!
By TSS on 5/22/2007 6:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
you obviously have never ever tried to replace anything inside a packard (h)bell machine.

RE: Ah, nice!
By frobizzle on 5/22/2007 7:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
you obviously have never ever tried to replace anything inside a packard (h)bell machine.

I have. It is no worse or better than some Dells, Compaqs, HPs, Gateways, E-Machines and others I have worked on. It is just difficult to articulate the difference from one garbage machine to the next. All these low-end, appeal-to-the-non-geek masses PCs are little more than expensive door stops.

RE: Ah, nice!
By Oregonian2 on 5/22/2007 6:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
If I had to suggest (over the phone) a brand for my Mother (who lives in a different state) to buy which would you suggest? Needs to cost about the same as one of those lower cost Dells (etc). Would need to be serviced professionally where she lives (by folks like you). I build all of my own, and have since my first 8088 based machine, but I don't live anywhere near where she does (takes a few hours of plane ride). I don't know the innards of today's commercially available stuff.

So who makes/sells something she can buy on her own -- but doesn't cost much? When my father was still alive, he was an AOL'er, so use that as a gauge of non-sophistication.

In your opnion, does anyone make non-crap for this market, or is it just that everything commercial is crap at this sort of price-point?

RE: Ah, nice!
By Webgod on 5/23/2007 9:46:33 AM , Rating: 2
Buy Local / Buy American (No Acer)

RE: Ah, nice!
By Oregonian2 on 5/23/2007 2:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
My mother, who can maybe operate the "on" button is not going into a localbuilder shop, I can almost guarantee it?

I think that's a good answer technically, and one that I've
thought of (my first PC-XT was from such a place way back when -- and I had a
local non-profit I'm associated with buy their computer from such a place fairly
recently), but I still can't imagine it for the mass market sort
of folk that my mother represents.

Folks like her want a brand name they recognize and gives them a feeling of continuity of service after the purchase (no "contact the manufacturer of the CDROM for a firmware update..."). "Firmware.. is that some kind of weirdo clothes?". They're buying an microwave oven, they want "panasonic", "kenmore", etc, not "Local-Joe's oven shop". If it doesn't boot or work for any reason, just gets taken in to somewhere that they're confident it'll be fixed (that they're charged $150 to reseat a cable isn't significant, it'd sound really impressive to them!). They want a computer appliance, one they use. A tool rather than a toy or entertainment device.

Actually, she's wanting a HDTV installed (her old CRT based one is going south, or "green" more precisely). She'll only be buying one where the store will come out and install it for her (hook to the audio equipment, etc). She's not "unusual" for the non-technically inclined. But then if I wanted an oil portrait painting, I'd have a professional go make one for me -- she'd get out the oils and paint one. Each has their own talents.

RE: Ah, nice!
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 8:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about computers from ten years ago I'm talking about right now.

RE: Ah, nice!
By RyanM on 5/21/2007 8:59:22 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe when they initially debuted, but I remember 3 years ago, Emachines beat out Dell on a PCMag quality test. Seems they had less repairs than Dells.,1895,1626492,

Of course, this was 3 years ago, before Emachines bought Gateway. The article makes mention of this, and I've yet to see whether or not Emachines quality control fixed Gateway's problems, or if Gateway's problems undid Emachine's QC.

RE: Ah, nice!
By RyanM on 5/21/2007 9:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Ah, nice!
By mxzrider2 on 5/21/2007 11:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
gateway bought emachines. wow never knew someone would think of it the other way. and gateway has gotten a ton better to since the acquisition. most pc companies made all of there low end equal to their top end from a few years back and the top end systems are new beasts all together. remember when when apple had the better build with a crappy os. now they dont have anything on pcs. ( not the osx is that bad. just not for me.)

RE: Ah, nice!
By Googer on 5/22/2007 10:21:14 AM , Rating: 2
Gateway did the same thing many years ago. The company went from direct order opened it's "Country Store" of which most are now closed. Could history repeat it's self for Dell?

RE: Ah, nice!
By skaaman on 5/22/2007 10:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt it. They have a great opportunity but the devil is in the details. I spent time in a Dell kiosk and the mantra of stock nothing was ridiculous. The problem is they need to devise a retail inventory system. That said, the model was still quite successful. They have already stuck a toe in the water with an actual storefront in a Mall in Texas, complete with a service counter. If they can round it out with a careful balance of stock systems, printers, ink and cables I believe it would be a huge success. Man it with people who know what their talking about and they would be off to the races.

Gateway Stores were ultimately a victim of many circumstances, but they were primarily phased out when the eMachines deal went through. eMachines already had a presence in the big box stores and that opened the door for Gateway systems eliminating the need. Also, most Gateway stores were in large buildings in outlots which were not as heavily visited as being directly in a Mall like the Dell kiosks are.

Stop making computers Proprietary
By Bigginz on 5/21/2007 5:08:28 PM , Rating: 2
I would buy Dell if they made their computers CONFORM TO INDUSTRY STANDARDS. Their power supplies, inkjet cartridges, motherboards, and some other parts are proprietary. I think Dell and Gateway are the only manufacturers that use BTX. Intel gave up on BTX about 3 years ago. AMD never adopted the BTX design.

I got a lot of complaints working at Office Depot when Dell started selling inkjet printers that were clones of Lexmark printers. They looked exactly the same except for the inkjet cartridges. There were a few people that were writing a paper for school when they ran out of ink. I had to tell them that Dell is the only company that sells inkjet cartridges for their printer and they have to order it online. And you don't want to buy an extra cartridge because it might dry up by the time you need it. When someone tells me they are thinking about buying a Dell computer, I tell them to get HP. But if they do get a Dell, DON'T get a Dell printer, even if it's free! You will regret it later.

RE: Stop making computers Proprietary
By Belard on 5/21/2007 5:22:27 PM , Rating: 3
DELL PSUs are mostly standard - they have slots for attaching to the case... its up to the customer to 'bend' the tabs of their case to force a STANDARD PSU to fit.

Intel Dropped the BTX format last year, December06. Gateway's newer PCs are not BTX. The new HPaqs may seem BTXish, but they simply flipped the ATX mobo... works well, the PCIe video card will face away from the CPU and up.

Only Dell supports the BTX standard that never was... standard... ;)

Dell Printers = junk, but expensive junk.

DELL, HP, ACER, gateway are all built pretty much the same.

RE: Stop making computers Proprietary
By frobizzle on 5/21/2007 5:32:20 PM , Rating: 1
DELL PSUs are mostly standard - they have slots for attaching to the case... its up to the customer to 'bend' the tabs of their case to force a STANDARD PSU to fit.

I disagree. I have used a meter on some Dell PSUs and found that the voltages on some lines do not correspond to industry standard PSU specs. Then, to make matters worse, they use proprietary mobos to match the proprietary PSU. This is good for Dell as now, the only components you can put into the case have to come from them. Since it is rare to see them offer anything that would qualify as an upgrade, the hapless owner is stuck. If they want to upgrade their system, it becomes time to chuck the Dell in the bin and buy a whole new unit and of course, Dell is hoping that the next POS they buy will be from them!

RE: Stop making computers Proprietary
By Soviet Robot on 5/21/2007 8:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the Dells I've worked on used basic Intel motherboards and cheap 300w atx PSU's

RE: Stop making computers Proprietary
By frobizzle on 5/21/2007 8:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
And you have checked the output of each of the PSU's pins to validate that they match standard specifications? If not, how can you allude that they might be "off the shelf" units?

By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:06:28 AM , Rating: 2
dell would get sued if the didn't use standard voltages and yet labeled their PSUs as ATX. also dell would loose money if they had to redesign everything so dramatically to support different voltages so theirs no way they would do it. Oh and I'm a tech and have tested tones of dell PSUs and never have I seen one that was dramatically out of acceptable ranges aside from one that was failing.

By cubby1223 on 5/21/2007 8:50:19 PM , Rating: 1
Welcome to... 7 years ago? Things have changed since those days. Try looking into it when you've got a moment.

By Bigginz on 5/22/2007 4:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
About 6 months ago, I read a review on a Dell XPS system that had a 1000 watt PSU. The power cord that goes from the PSU to the electrical outlet had a 3 plug design in a weird configuration. The reviewer thought Dell did this to prevent someone from using a power cord from a printer to plug it in. But I know Dell did this because they are idiots. It's going to really suck when the cord has to be replaced and the sucker who bought it has to call Dell to pay $50 for the cord plus shipping.

By Verran on 5/21/2007 4:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
If anything, their name recognition will get them through this. As much as we all hate "Dude, yur gettin' a DELL!", it will greatly influence the retail PC market people.

I just wonder what they hope to accomplish with the move. I mean margins on midrange PCs are basically non-existant already. Moving into the retail environment can only make them worse. It just doesn't seem like a market you'd want to push into.

RE: Maybe...
By spluurfg on 5/21/2007 4:46:01 PM , Rating: 3
My feeling is that it'll help them the most on notebook sales. If I order a desktop, I don't really care that much what it looks like, but for notebooks, its build, feel, size, and weight are a bit more important.

Seems like good timing, since Dell seems to be putting a bit more emphasis on notebook design than they used to... if I recall they were the among the last to catch on to the thin and light boat. These days, though, the notebooks are looking a lot sharper.

Well, that's my guess anyway.

RE: Maybe...
By Haltech on 5/21/2007 5:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like Dell has been known for their custamization but unless each store will have warehouses of laptops and desktops all different it seems like their going into a new direction, possibly good possibly bad

RE: Maybe...
By Lakku on 5/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: Maybe...
By spluurfg on 5/21/2007 8:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
You kind of set it all with:

"unless you need a good workstation or LAN gaming type of rig, nothing in the PC world comes remotely close to an Apple laptop."

Some people put form first. Others: function. Most: cost.

RE: Maybe...
By skaaman on 5/22/2007 10:59:17 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Maybe...
By mxzrider2 on 5/21/2007 11:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
"unless you need a good workstation or LAN gaming type of rig, nothing in the PC world comes remotely close to an Apple laptop."

yep, im going to say it, you sir are an idiot, more like ignorant retard. i get more comments on my compaq v6000 series than my friends macbook pro. and mine cost less than half! too bad he only knows and wants to use final cut pro.

Point of Reflection
By creathir on 5/21/2007 6:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
I had never really thought about it until now...
but Dell has been (until recently, thanks to AMD) creaming HP and all of the other major manufactures without a solid retail presence.

This will have a huge impact on the computer industry as a whole in my opinion, as it will drive those prices down in the box stores.

I think it is a great idea, and if they do it right (have a build to order kiosk there in the store with the PCs) they really could increase their overall customer base.

Of course, for personal use I would NEVER buy a pre-built PC as I enjoy the process of putting them together, but for Mr. Jones down the street who calls you when he needs his VCR clock reset, this does open up new opportunities for that type of customer.

- Creathir

RE: Point of Reflection
By iollmann on 5/21/2007 10:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
This will have a huge impact on the computer industry as a whole in my opinion, as it will drive those prices down in the box stores.

...and this is good for Dell, how?

I think it is a great idea, and if they do it right (have a build to order kiosk there in the store with the PCs) they really could increase their overall customer base.

Lose money on every sale and make it back in volume ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H customer support calls!

Of course, for personal use I would NEVER buy a pre-built PC ...

[Raises eyebrow.]

RE: Point of Reflection
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:15:03 AM , Rating: 2
I had never really thought about it until now...
but Dell has been (until recently, thanks to AMD) creaming HP and all of the other major manufactures without a solid retail presence.

How the hell had AMD negatively impacted Dell? HP has had AMD based systems for years and it hasn't slowed them down.

RE: Point of Reflection
By creathir on 5/22/2007 4:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Until HP really pushed the AMD line, Dell has dominated the manuf. market for years. Once HP offered this as well as a few more options (Linux, a few other things) Dell lost the ability to say "most PCs sold".

- Creathir

RE: Point of Reflection
By SmokeRngs on 5/22/2007 4:54:19 PM , Rating: 1
I don't mean to be a dick, but the only thing that truly took the crown away from Dell was the HP/Compaq merger. Even after the merger, it took the new company a while to overtake Dell.

Do not take this as a defense for Dell, its products or anything else. I'm just pointing out a tidbit of history.

RE: Point of Reflection
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 8:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry I thought you we implying that dell was suffering from accepting AMD.

This isn't the ONE thing lacking from Dell...
By ATC on 5/21/2007 7:56:14 PM , Rating: 1
Product innovation, on the other hand, is.

While this might help Dell regain some market share, I think their biggest problem is the lack of product innovations especially in the notebook market. That's where HP has taken it to Dell.

They really need to redesign and launch new notebooks and expand their XPS line to cover 14-15" market.

RE: This isn't the ONE thing lacking from Dell...
By iollmann on 5/21/2007 10:41:45 PM , Rating: 2

This is a complete mismatch for Dell. Retail shelf space is great for showing customers just what shines about your product. Unfortunately, for Dell, there is nothing terribly interesting about their product. They make commodity products for people who want commodity machines. That market is shrinking. Their other strength is BTO. Unfortunately, for them, the other main value of retail shelf space -- items are "in stock" and ready to take home -- makes it impossible to do BTO.

I predict they will lose money on the proposition from day 1 and continue to lose money until such time as they come to their senses.

RE: This isn't the ONE thing lacking from Dell...
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:21:08 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see how they will lose once the retailer has purchased the machine dell has made their money. Now the retailer has to worry about loosening money when the machine gets replaced with a new model and dell doesn't. Their machines (while shit on the inside) look a lot like any other machine on the market. Sure they may not be able to to BTO or maybe they will just you will buy it from the retailer then come back when it gets shipped not really any different than before just a slightly lower margin.

RE: This isn't the ONE thing lacking from Dell...
By brshoemak on 5/22/2007 7:51:27 AM , Rating: 2
The retailer should be fine. Best Buy as an example. Stores usually don't stock a massive amount of a single PC so a release of an updated model would just cause the retailer to slightly mark the cost down or bundle it with accessories that they can afford to shave some margin off of. The retailer always has razor-thin margins on most PC hardware, they will just keep pushing PSP's, 15' gold USB cables, $200 UPS, Geek Squad. Also, I'm sure they would not go into agreement with Dell if they didn't have a plan on how to handle their PSP's (warranty) in terms of hardware repair. The introduction of Dell to the retail shelves should be the same as any other.

By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 8:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
exactly my point.

Wow, this is a little ironic.
By Oobu on 5/21/2007 4:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
My friend WANTS a Dell, but won't by one because he has to "order" one. This is great for people like him.

RE: Wow, this is a little ironic.
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
why does he want a dell out of curiosity?

RE: Wow, this is a little ironic.
By Oobu on 5/22/2007 2:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Because he wants a computer.

RE: Wow, this is a little ironic.
By frobizzle on 5/22/2007 7:57:58 AM , Rating: 2
So, the question again is why does he want a Dell?

Quite happy
By fliguy84 on 5/21/2007 4:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Although I don't quite fancy Dell's PC lineup, their laptops are pretty good. So this is a good news since now I can test the laptops first.

RE: Quite happy
By frobizzle on 5/22/2007 8:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
No offense intended, dude, but your statement makes zero sense. What do you base the comment "...their laptops are pretty good." on? You seem to have never owned one or even tried one. And what is five minutes in a brick and mortar store (with an anxious sales person breathing hotly down the back of your neck) testing a laptop going to demonstrate?

RE: Quite happy
By skaaman on 5/22/2007 11:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know, but it seems to work for Apple... Get off your high horse. The world of PC's for the masses is a world of commodity parts and mass production with process improvements measured in seconds, and that just goads the living heck out of you. Getting hands on anything before you buy it is better than nothing at all. As for the anxious sales guy, there is an easy solution for that. Look'm square in the eye and say "GO AWAY" :)

RE: Quite happy
By frobizzle on 5/22/2007 3:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a matter of being on a horse, high or low. The poster made the statement that Dell laptops are good. As he or she has never owned one, possibly never seen one, it is incongruous to make such a proclamation.

ok, so it's not religion, but it got you here
By Quiksel on 5/21/2007 4:11:04 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder if they will really be able to compete though (while keeping shareholders happy).

Dell is where it is today because of the direct model. Joining the ranks of the retail will likely shakeup the industry (and competition of course), but Dell may not be better off because of it. They can't be all things to all people, even as ubiquitous as they already are.

I like Mike Dell's style, although I do wonder whether his original genius will carry him through to the next big thing.


By deeznuts on 5/21/2007 4:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
This will capture people who know of Dell. Would like to buy Dell, but dont' like to buy online.

Dell needs a Bill Gates
By thebrown13 on 5/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: Dell needs a Bill Gates
By piroroadkill on 5/21/2007 7:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
They don't skimp on the components, the Nichicon capacitors were used in good faith, seeing as they're one of the leading Japanese brands of capacitor - it was simply a bad batch produced, as far as I recall, in Hong Kong.

Dell currently use solid state capacitors as well as regular aluminum electrolytic capacitors made by top notch manufacturers such as Rubycon and Panasonic, so maybe you should check your facts first :v:

RE: Dell needs a Bill Gates
By Zelvek on 5/22/2007 12:24:05 AM , Rating: 2
Then how come I see dells failing more often than other machines as a technician? Dell does skimp on the quality maybe not as much as everyone says but they do never the less do it.

Please no markups
By electriple9 on 5/21/2007 9:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
Id love to see the Dell LCDS selling at Bestbuy or Futureshop, just at the same price as buying directly from dell.

RE: Please no markups
By Scott66 on 5/22/2007 12:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
I would too but how is Bestbuy or Futureshop going to make any money? I doubt Dell will want to share its profit.

This isn't new...
By vaystrem on 5/21/2007 4:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Dell used to sell computers through big box stores like Futureshop in Canada. Back in 1994 our family bought a Dell 486 DX2 50 from Futureshop. They were phasing out those big box sales around that time though.

Special Breeds
By Truxy on 5/22/2007 10:12:21 AM , Rating: 2
Working as a PC tech for about 4 years (and still doing so as a hobby), I came to learn a few things about Dells.

Their desktops: you get what you pay for. You generally can't make a PC at the same price for parts cost. But you can't buy equal Dell parts (other than over priced) replacements; neither would you want to. They use lowest end models of parts as possible, be it motherboard, video card, sound card, or otherwise - having stripped down, cheaper parts custom manufactured if required to save some bucks. To someone who wants to spend 400 bucks on a PC though, this shouldn't matter. HP's were the same story.

Their laptops: way too complex. Even the 'Dell Certified' people called in to work on them often ended up replacing entire laptops for us. The time it would have taken to diagnose, let alone fix the laptops - often was just not worth it.

Again, you get what you pay for. I still recommend them for a cheap PC - they're generally reliable enough for a year or two, and by then your $400 PC is out of date anyways.

It always happens...
By sxr7171 on 5/22/2007 10:17:43 AM , Rating: 2
Every time there's a Dell article on a site frequented by enthusiasts there's always the same old Dell bashing. I don't buy Dell, I build my own machines. However, between HP and Dell you have covered pretty much 90% of the consumer experience with computing. Every company I worked for used Dell machines. I mean if these things were so low quality and horrible, how the heck would they still keep selling them? It may not be yours or my cup of tea, but they tend to get the job done for the rest of the world.

Helps or hurts?
By SmokeRngs on 5/22/2007 4:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
It remains to be seen whether this will help or hurt Dell in the long run. The increased presence will help them in my opinion.

This will not affect Dell only. The other manufacturers that Dell competes with already have shelf space and now they have a new contender for that same space. This contender is by no means a newcomer in the business, just the business model. Most stores probably won't build an addition or just throw out another type of product just to fit a couple of Dells on the shelf. In most cases, this will probably mean less exposure for the other manufacturers' systems since some of them will be removed to make room. This technically means less exposure for those already on the shelf and more exposure for Dell which previously had no exposure there.

Depending on how some of the stores are setup, you could still have the build to order systems. The only difference is that the systems would be ordered in the store and either shipped to the store for pickup or shipped to the person's home. If they don't like the Dell options on the shelf, they can still buy what they want if they are impressed with the Dell systems overall but don't want to go through the ordering process at home themselves. There are a lot of people out there who are not confident in ordering a system online or over the phone themselves. People would get a "hands on" experience of a Dell system and still have the option to order a different one than the models on the shelf. I believe Staples currently does this with HP/Compaq. I don't know how successful it is, but I've never really seen it advertised either. If Dell is good at one thing, it's advertising.

To the person which mentioned Gateway's previous attempt at retail, this is completely different. Gateway had their own branded stores. Dell is doing nothing more than putting its systems in an established store and letting the store make the sale.

There is one warning I would give. Don't expect store prices to be the same as the online/phone prices. Putting systems in a store can easily cost more money. Instead of pure profit from the online/phone orders, Dell would have to share profit with the stores. Since the margins for budget systems is so low to begin with, this will more than likely mean a markup for in store systems. I doubt it will be huge, but I'm sure there will be a difference.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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