Dell to enter the retail channel

Dell is taking its first step into the retail channel through a partnership with Wal-Mart Canada.

The predominantly direct seller will be offering one Dell Dimension desktop computer on Wal-Mart shelves starting June 10.

According to Janet Fabri, Dell Canada spokesperson, customers have asked the subsidiary for more ways to purchase its products.

“This announcement represents the first step. It is very important to understand that the vast majority of our customers want to buy direct from us. They like the build to order model because we can personalize and customize our products when they buy from us. This is a single point of accountability that no one else in the industry can offer,” she said.

Fabri added that this retail channel play is just an addition to its strategy and not a change in direction.

Christi Gallagher, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart Canada said Dell partnership is a great opportunity for the big-box retailer to meet ongoing customer needs in providing brand name electronics.

She added that Wal-Mart averages one million shoppers a day, which over a month more or less equals the Canadian population.

Wal-Mart already carries Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, and Acer PC products, but believes that Dell’s brand is also a brand name trusted by customers and could add value to its computer selection.

Price was a factor in adding Dell to the Wal-Mart PC line up, Gallagher said. “Our strategy will not change. We want to be the everyday low-price leader, and certainly it will be the approach we take for all categories including electronics,” she said.

Gallagher said Wal-Mart understands that Dell will continue to sell directly through its Web site and over the phone to the same customer base as the retailer.

Dell has agreed to build Wal-Mart a PC based on the retailer’s specifications with Windows Vista that will be different from current Dell PCs. However, neither side would reveal the machine’s price, CPU, memory, hard drive, included software or any other details.

“The goal for Dell and Wal-Mart is to differentiate the product line and to meet specific customer needs,” she said.

Wal-Mart will be training its staff on the new Dell products.

Another reason why Wal-Mart partnered with Dell was that the retailer surveyed its customers and found that they wanted more brand name selection in categories such as electronics, home, fashion, food and health and beauty.

“Electronics was one of those key categories and we are working on providing more selection to customers as we continue to grow and enhance it. It was a natural evolution. This is exciting news for customers. For the first time in Canadian retail we will be stocking our shelves with Dell,” she said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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