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Video: Dell’s Vostro 3000 laptops target the SMB market

Dell sees its Vostro 3000 laptop series as channel-optimized to go after the SMB market opportunity

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) today launched its Vostro 3000 series of laptops, building on the Vostro V13 launched late last year, and designed to meet the requirements and budget of the small-and-medium-sized-business (SMB) market.

The Vostro 3000 family is designed to address the key pain-points for SMBs said Andre Valiquette, director of SMB marketing for Dell Canada. According to Dell’s research, those pain-points include pricing, the reliance on the channel for support and expertise due to a lack of in-house IT expertise, as well as cash flow and time. SMBs just want the technology to work, and the price needs to be in the $500 to $1,000 range.

Learn more about Dell’s Vostro launch in this video interview with Valiquette by CDN‘s Paolo Del Nibletto:

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The Vostro series includes four new models (five with the V13) based on Intel Core processor technology. The ultra-thin 3300 is a 13” model that still manages to sport an optical drive, and starts at $749. The 3400 is a 14” model that Dell says can offer up to eight hours of battery life with a nine cell battery, and starts at $699. The 3500 is a 15” model with optional multi-touch starting at $699. And finally, the 3700 is a 17” model and comes with an optional Core i& quad Core processor, and starts at $799. All the notebooks feature a backlit keyboard, zinc-reinforced hinges, aluminum casing, and embedded Web cam and microphone for video conferencing.

One of Dell’s key findings was the reliance SMB owners have on the channel to support their IT infrastructure and influence buying decisions. Valiquette said that has led Dell to design Vostro 3000 as primarily a channel-driven offering, although it won’t be exclusive to the channel.

“We’ve had some products exclusive to distribution. This one will be both, but we’re working to avoid conflict with a pricing advantage for each channel,” said Valiquette. “The Vostro has really been oriented to the channel.”

Warranties will be standard on the Vostro, as Dell found service is a major purchase influencer for SMBs. Dell is also offering its ProSupport Services, with different levels geared towards novices and IT pros, which gets the experts past the level one support layer for more detailed assistance. Also, no trial software or “bloatware” is installed on the Vostro laptops.

Partners can expect industry-standard margins of seven to 10 per cent on the hardware sale, and can earn additional revenue by adding services such as configuration, back-up and IT support.

Dell has also worked to narrow the configuration options in the Vostro line, a change in philosophy from Dell’s highly-configurable build roots. Across the five Vostro models there are 60 total configurations available. Still too many to all be stocked by distributors, but Valiquette said Dell will work with distribution partners Tech Data and Ingram Micro to stock the most commonly-desired models in each market, with others available via special order.

The Vostro line is not currently available through the retail channel, although Valiquette said that may be explored in the future.