Dell Details Plans to Sell PCs at the Airport
LAS VEGAS -- Dell Computer will expand its network of Dell kiosks--where customers can see, touch, and buy a Dell PC--to airports and other locations, Dell chairman and chief executive officer Michael Dell said here Thursday.
The direct seller is benefiting from its network of kiosks in U.S.
shopping malls set up last year. The company had planned to operate these
kiosks only during the back-to-school and year-end holiday seasons, but they
were so successful that Dell has decided to keep many open and to add new ones,
Dell said in a presentation here at the
"We are looking at putting kiosks in some airports and other locations so customers can touch and feel the products [before buying]," Dell said. The kiosks aren't actual brick-and-mortar stores, but are easy-to-move-around displays. The strategy for the kiosk came from Dell's business in Japan, Dell said.
At the kiosks, users can try Dell systems and place orders for home delivery. Dell's standard method of selling is through its Web site.
During an "Industry Insider" session here, Dell expressed doubts that
"Whether the TV or the PC is the center of the universe is an interesting debate, but I don't think it's that relevant," Dell said. "The TV is gaining some intelligence. [But] I would stick by my belief that the PC is the center of the entertainment experience."
During the 1-hour session, Dell took ample time to promote his company's low-price and customer service model and answered questions from the audience about the company. Environmentalists called upon Dell to help reduce technology waste, saying that Dell does not do enough in that area. Dell said that his company in fact does tell customers about recycling options.
One audience member asked if the Round Rock, Texas-based company's
Asked if the company plans to add Dell-branded digital cameras and mobile phones to its product arsenal, as analysts from Merrill Lynch recently suggested, Dell said he had "no new product announcements at this time." Dell will soon start selling its own printers, he said, marking a slight delay from the originally announced December 2002 time frame for Dell-branded printers to emerge.
Greg Rodehau, a show attendee from San Francisco and a Dell user, enjoyed Dell's talk despite acknowledging that it wasn't a sparkling presentation.
"The most interesting part was to get a better idea of how Dell operates, to learn more about the internal workings and about how Dell coordinates with its suppliers," said Rodehau. "He was very dry; there was no sizzle to it--but that is not a negative. I am not buying the computer because of Michael [Dell] but because of the experience it delivers and the value."