Dell wants you to "touch and feel"

Dell wants you to "touch and feel"

They won't be as prevalent as McDonald's, but you'll soon be able to pop into the House of Dell (aka Officeworks) at 104 locations around Australia. Will this inspire love for Dell?

Dell’s competitive advantage historically used to be that its direct, build-to-order model allowed it to cut costs and offer cheaper and more up-to-date machines than its competitors – it’s the premise the whole business was built on. In recent times, though, the company has been pairing up with retail stores worldwide to hawk its IT wares, and today Dell Australia announced its Australian partner for retail sales: Officeworks.

According to the announcement today, you’ll soon be able to pop into any of 104 Officeworks stores nationwide and fondle . . . ahem . . . "Touch and Feel", according to the release -- Dell gear before either buying in-store (depending on stock) or ordering it online, all backed up by Dell-trained in-store consultants.

It’s not clear if these staff members will just be present to sell Dell gear or if they’ll be regular staff as well, so you may have to wait while they clean up the sick in aisle 4, and deal with the bulk order of rubber bands at checkout #7. Officeworks will stock Dell laptops, desktops, printers and ink, although you’ll have to forego customisation options if buying in-store stock.

Dell sent us a list of what will be on offer in-store:

Notebook Computers x 5 from $999 to $1799 Dell Inspiron 1526 Notebook Dell Inspiron 1526 Notebook Dell Inspiron 1520 Notebook Dell Inspiron 1520 Notebook Dell XPS M1330 Notebook

Desktop PC x 2 from $999
Dell Inspiron 531ST Desktop PC
Dell Inspiron 531ST Desktop PC

LCD Display Monitors 20"
Digital Projector
Colour Laser Printers
Mono Laser Printer
All In one Printer

They also told us: "In addition to the above hardware products we will have a number of accessories such as keyboards, mice, batteries, cartridges and headsets."

The retail strategy is one that a number of computer vendors have been adopting in recent years, with the poster boy for this approach being Apple, who run a number of international “Apple” branded stores, with plans for stores in Sydney and Melbourne to open before the end of the year. The Officeworks announcement isn’t on the same level as a dedicated store, although the announcement does note that Dell will continue to operate 13 shopping mall kiosks throughout the Eastern seaboard.

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