Dell torches US kiosks
Direct Stores scorned for retail relationships
Dell is shutting down its 140 US store kiosks, made obsolete by the company's decision to jump into bed with retailers.
The kiosks, called Dell Direct stores, punt the company's PCs, printers and other electronics in shopping malls and airports.
Shoppers can see, touch, fiddle with, scorn or moan longingly at Dell merchandise, but the patron-to-vendor relationship ends there. The kiosk are merely teases, which don't actually carry inventory. Customers need to place an order with a Dell representative at the kiosk to get any equipment shipped home.
It's a hard line largely outmoded by the company's channel deals in recent months across the globe with the likes of Best Buy, Staples, PC World, Carrefour and Bic Camera stores.
Historically, Dell was a direct-only vendor and it still makes most of its money selling direct. But the company couldn't resist reworking the ol' sales model in face of losing sales to PC vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, which have no such qualms over selling through channel partners.
Dell Direct stores in Canada, Asia Pacific and Japan - about 50, all told - remain open, according to the Direct2Dell blog. Per usual, the company also reminds its still committed to its direct-sales business. ®
DUDE! You're gettin' a KIOSK!
There are a lot of them for sale now that Dell doesn't want them.
Kiosks were a stupid idea in the first place.
One advantage that Dell had over the other hardware suppliers was that by being mail-order they had a price advantage by not having to charge sales tax. Putting those silly kiosks sort of shot that advantage right out the window. The kiosks also didn't carry any inventory so they couldn't capitalize on the need for immediate gratification. And of course like any shortsighted marketers they put the kiosks in the states where most of their customers lived, screwing the largest portion of the population by making the fewest dumb moves.
Stupid. You had to pay sales tax, AND shipping, AND then had to wait for the delivery guy to bring it. Or you could just go pick up an HP/Compaq at the nearest office supply outlet and take it home with you.
And didn't Dell learn from Gateway's "country stores" mistake?
Roy Kinnear RIP
Now call me paranoid but after reading this little missive twice I somehow get the feeling that young Austin has perhaps one ore two misgivings about the channel. Saying that HP and Lenovo 'have no qualms' about working indirect is a bit of a strange way to describe a distribution method that has proved to be of greater benefit to a customer than the direct model - and provides an awful lot of jobs to people who read this very site too.
Oh, could you stop repeating this bilge about Dull previously being a direct-only company? We've all seen the half-baked ads they did spouting this crud but the truth is rather different; Dell have long had an indirect relationship with people where it suited them, they just don't like journos to know about their utter hypocrisy.
I think you might get a slight notion that I'm not a fan of this company.