Dell's new mantra: The Internet is us

Summary:Dell Computer Corp. is not only racking up $3 million a day on Internet sales -- the company is re-tooling the entire company for cyberspace.

Dell Computer Corp. is not only racking up $3 million a day on Internet sales -- the company is re-tooling the entire company for cyberspace.

The company's URL appears in every single one of its newspaper, television, radio and magazine advertisements, and is now beginning to appear on boxes, forms and other documents. And for customers who live in caves with no Windows, Dell has even embedded it into the BIOS on every one of its machines.

"It's even more important than the phone number," Chairman Michael Dell told reporters in Frankfurt. "It's global, it's universal. It never changes. It's everywhere."

And the URL in the BIOS ensures that all but the blind will see it when using a Dell PC. "User's will see when they boot up and get to the set up screen," he said. "You won't find a Dell ad anywhere in the world without it."

Dell customers can now buy PC's over the Internet in 30 countries. At the rate of $3 million a day, that means Dell takes cyber-orders for 1,000 PC's daily or more than $1 billion a year.

In addition to orienting all marketing messages toward the Internet, Dell is also investing heavily to adapt its order processing, manufacturing and payment systems for electronic commerce.

"We are building infrastructure to support ten times the volume we have today," said Dell.

Increasingly, orders are coming from the consumer sector, where Dell now generates $1 billion in sales.

"The first time buyer goes to a retail store. The second time you order direct, the third time you go to the Internet," Dell said.

Dell was even starting to see growth in online sales outside of the United States. In Japan a third of the orders for Dimension desktops come over the Internet. Online sales in Canada were starting to take off, but Europe was still ramping up.

But at least Europe has begun to recognize that it is behind, Dell said. "They tend to be more accepting of the idea" even if there's no real change in adoption, he said.

Longer term, Dell predicted the PC industry was headed for many years of robust growth.

"There are 7 billion people in the world and 250 million of them have PCs now. In 10 years I think 1.5 billion will have computers," he said. "I think that's a tremendous opportunity."

Topics: Dell, PCs

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