Dell courts Singapore retail shoppers

Models sold at Courts retail outlets are based on processors not available via Dell's online store, to prevent cannibalization of Dell's own direct sales.
Written by Darius Chang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Singapore joins the list of markets where Dell has begun selling its products at major retail chains.

The U.S.-based computer maker announced Thursday an exclusive partnership with Courts, one of the largest megastores in the island-state. The Singapore retailer has nine stores in the island-state, and sells home furniture, as well as computer and electronics goods.

From today, consumers can view and touch Dell's Inspiron range of desktops and notebooks before committing to a purchase. Unlike online delivery which may take a few days before the unit is received, customers can buy and get their unit on the spot.

So what is the difference between buying online and getting a Dell PC through Courts?

In order not to cannibalize each other's sales, Courts' units are based on processors that are not available via Dell's online store. Moreover, PCs purchased through Courts can either be serviced onsite or in store.

On the flip side, having fixed configurations in stock means that if a customer wants to upgrade parts such as the RAM or hard disk, he or she will have to place an order through the store and return in three to five working days to get the custom unit.

According to a Dell representative, the reason for moving its products to the retail front is so the U.S. maker can capture first-time PC buyers. This group of buyers are unlikely to be comfortable getting expensive electronics online, and may prefer to experience the machine before buying.

This is not the first time that Dell has extended its hand to retail shoppers in the republic. The computer maker already has a small retail showcase in a mall which operates more like a "kiosk".

The "kiosk" lets interested buyers touch and feel its products, make enquiries and get help with placing orders. But they cannot make a purchase.

Dell built its business as an online PC distributor, but recently altered its strategy and has partnered major retail chains in the United States, China, Russia and Japan to sell its goods through brick-and-mortar outlets.

However, the PC maker does not plan to stray from its direct business. Last month, a spokesperson from Dell Asia told ZDNet Asia that while it will hopes to make a bigger play for Asia's retail opportunity, the direct sales model is still the mainstay of its business.

Darius Chang writes for CNET Asia.

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