By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Dell’s garnering of the Best Consumer Direct Retailer prize for the TWICE Excellence In Retailing Awards shows the level of respect the direct to customer vendor has at retail.
Dell beat out well known direct retailers Amazon.com, Crutchfield, Huppins OneCall.com and QVC, all of which have years of experience selling a variety of products to consumers. While Dell is no newcomer to dealing with the end user, the Round Rock, Texas-based corporation cut its sales eyeteeth in a B2B environment, but it has quickly learned to operate with the end user in mind.
Dell dominated TWICE’s list of the 25 top U.S. PC retailers and was fourth on the magazine’s Top CE retailers with $6.2 billion in sales in 2003. Overall, the company reported sales of $45.4 billion for the year.
The company has come quite way from its beginnings in 1984 when it was founded with a $1,000 in Michael Dell’s dorm room. And although it now has 50,000 workers worldwide, the company’s basic premise has remained the same. Its configure-to-order strategy for selling computers remains in place even while Dell has added tremendously to its merchandise mix. In the computer arena it now sells Dell branded inkjet and color laser printers along with PDAs. In addition, a customer can find any peripheral or accessory needed at www.Dell.com.
The on-going convergence of the PC and CE worlds has led Dell, along with other PC vendors, into the CE segment. Its first steps included the Dell DJ portable music player and small screen LCD televisions. Dell will push its CE involvement to new heights late this year when it ships a variety of larger screen, 30-inches and larger, LCD and plasma televisions.
Dell’s CE rollout will not be explosive, a’ la Gateway’s abortive attempt to quickly gain market share, but company executives have said it will slowly gain steam over time. This should make is sustainable and enable what the company calls “The Dell Effect” to have an impact in this new area. The company defines the “Dell Effect” as the drop in prices and resulting increases in value that occur when Dell enters a product category or new market.
This is due to Dell’s ability to leverage its direct sales approach to bring out high quality products at the lowest cost possible.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.