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PC World is looking to change the way Irish SMEs buy technology with the launch of a new "one-stop" website offering over 50,000 IT products and solutions.

Aimed solely at businesses, the site allows users to set up an online account, order products and receive online billing, with payment due within 30 days.

The new PC World Business site offers a wide range of items including computers and laptops, networking hardware, servers, audio visual equipment, office supplies, furniture, printers and consumables, software, security hardware, and software.

In addition to establishing the new website, the company has also set-up a sales advisory team to help business customers with their purchasing decisions. The intention is to expand this unit, currently employing five people in Ireland, so that there will be a business centre within each Irish PC World store. Such a move could lead to the creation of up to 50 jobs over the next few years according to the company, although details are still sketchy.

PC World's new online sales channel promises to deliver all items within 48 hours or less at a cost of €24.99 per shipment. For customers based in the Dublin area who require overnight delivery, a charge of €39.99 applies.

"If you're a very small business then you can still pop into our retail stores but obviously they are cash-based, whereas if you use the website then there're account facilities there," explained Declan Ronayne, general manager of DSG Ireland, the parent company of PC World, Currys and Dixons.

"Moreover, there are over 50,000 products available online while our stores offer on average around 5,000 items so, for SMEs, it makes a lot of sense to shop with us. Perhaps the biggest advantage for small and medium-sized firms though is that the products sold online are low-cost because they are coming from the PC World Business warehouse in Bury, England," he told ENN.

PC World Business, a trading division of DSG Retail, has been in operation in Britain since 1992. It now employs more than 900 people and turns over around €1bn annually. Although the firm has been considering a move into the business sector in Ireland over the past two years, Ronayne admits that the focus has been on the consumer side.

"We haven't been paying attention to the business segment until recently because we've been focused on our retail operations. We have 28 stores and are opening a further seven this year so that's been our priority...it's now time to start addressing the B2B market," said Ronayne.

"Everyone wants to be in the business segment and I wouldn't go into it unless I felt that we had a unique differentiator that makes us attractive to SMEs. I think being able to offer low-cost equipment for delivery in less than two days is pretty compelling and is something that small and medium-sized firms will be interested in," he added.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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