November 6, 2002 5:53 AM PST

Dell tries retail in Singapore

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PC maker Dell Computer, which typically sells direct through the Web and telephone, has chosen Singapore as a test bed for its first retail kiosk in the Asia-Pacific region.

Located in Suntec City, one of the largest shopping malls in the city-state, the showcase comprises Dell's range of consumer notebooks and desktops, as well other computer peripherals.

"The kiosk is complementary to our existing sales channels," said Alvaro Del Pozo, Dell's marketing director for home- and small-business products. "After eight years of relying on traditional channels, this is a new way to reach our customers."

Del Pozo said that the company is still banking on its direct-sales approach and that the new initiative merely provides a "look and feel" of the products before purchase.

"The kiosk will not hold any inventory," he stressed, adding that customers will still have to order online, and have their PCs customized and assembled in Penang, Malaysia, before delivery.

Dell's kiosk concept debuted in the United States and Japan earlier this year, but this is the PC giant's flagship attempt in Asia-Pacific.

"Singapore was chosen because its population density allows us to hit the majority of customers with a single store location," Del Pozo said.

Without disclosing sales projections, Del Pozo said the Singapore kiosk is part of a three-month feasibility test in Asia-Pacific. "Depending on the results, we'll consider expanding the initiative to other countries in the region," he added.

In the United States, the Round Rock, Texas-based company has been actively broadening its sales channels over the past few months. In August, Dell began to make "white boxes," or low-priced, unbranded PCs for small dealers. The company has also started selling its computers on Costco.com, the online site for the king of club stores.

Winston Chai reported from CNETAsia.

 

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