Dell to Sell Through Wal-Mart

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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The move marks PC giant Dell's first foray into the retail channel.

Dell will make its first move into the retail channel starting on June 10, putting two of its Dimension desktop computers out to be sold through the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart.

CEO Michael Dell hinted in April in a widely leaked memo that his company—known for its direct-only sales—would move into new channels, including retail.

"This is the first step in what is an evolving retail strategy," said Dwayne Cox, a spokesperson for Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas. "It is not our entire retail strategy." Cox emphasized that the ultimate strategy would have a global flavor.

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Cox said Wal-Mart made sense as a first move for Dell because 90 percent of American households shop there, and by selling through Wal-Mart, Dell would be likely to reach customers that it would not have reached via its direct sales model. Cox also pointed to Wal-Mart's "great distribution model."

Dell plans to use the Wal-Mart experience to learn about retail and refine its retail strategy, according to Cox.

Wal-Mart will carry two Dimension desktops in 3,000 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart also carries eMachines, Acer and Compaq/Hewlett-Packard desktop systems starting at just under $500.

"While we can't get into specifics, in the coming quarters there will be additional activity in support of this move into global retail," Cox said.

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Dell noted that while today's disclosure marks the company's first move into retail, the majority of its customers still prefer the direct and build-to-order models created by Dell.

The PC giant, which has been reevaluating its go-to-market strategy in the wake of shrinking market share, recently announced plans to create a formal channel partner program.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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