Beleaguered Dell struggles in Wal-Mart

“After dissing retail stores for years, Dell has changed its tune,” Alexei Oreskovic reports for TheStreet.com. “The PC maker teamed up with retailing powerhouse Wal-Mart earlier this summer to sell a portion of its desktop and notebook PC models.”

“In recent visits to five Wal-Mart stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, however, TheStreet.com found a company still struggling to find its footing in the rough world of retail,” Oreskovic reports.

“With competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Acer well entrenched in Wal-Mart stores, Dell PCs appeared to be at a distinct disadvantage in the battle for shelf space and promotional material,” Oreskovic reports. “Demonstration units of Dell PCs were nowhere to be found, and the Dell PCs in stock varied from store to store.”

“‘I would say Dell is probably two years behind the competition in terms of understanding the consumer marketplace. So there’s a lot of learning that has to go on,’ says Samir Bhavnani, analyst at market research firm Current Analysis West,” Oreskovic reports.

“Dell is keeping tight-lipped about its retail sales results so far, though Wal-Mart has hinted that things are going well,” Oreskovic reports. “During Wal-Mart’s second-quarter conference call earlier this month, Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores USA, said the company was ‘very pleased with the response we’re seeing to the sales of Dell personal computers in our stores,’ although he did not provide any specific details.”

“To judge by the admittedly limited survey of Wal-Mart stores though, Dell’s initial foray into retail doesn’t address a key issue: Prospective customers hoping to see what a Dell laptop looks like may actually be better off visiting the company’s Web site than visiting the local Wal-Mart,” Oreskovic reports. “At all five Wal-Mart stores visited, Dell was a no-show among the out-of-box laptops on display in the PC section… So much for the hands-on shopping experience.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: But, if you let someone touch and try to use a Dell, they will be bombarded by crapware before (and after) the “X” key pops off and clatters to Wal-Fart’s cheap linoleum floor. Better to let the unsuspecting money-waster take it home sight unseen where they can then mistakenly conclude that they just don’t know how to use a computer properly and blame themselves instead of the real culprits: Microsoft and Dell. We will say though, Wal-Mart is the perfect place for Dell; it’s a match made in hell.

32 Comments

  1. …..But, if you let someone touch and try to use a Dell, they will be bombarded by crapware before (and after) the “X” key pops off and clatters to Wal-Fart’s cheap linoleum floor…..

    Priceless..

  2. No stereotypes and no disparaging – people shop where they shop for a variety of reasons.

    In rural America, Wal*Mart was able to dominate because all their competitors were less financially capable.

    In suburban America, Wal*Mart plays the low cost card and draws that segment of the market.

    The majority of retail happens where all products shout against one another in a common space for attention, no different from the bazaar of 2,000 years ago.

    The “think different” of years ago is still alive and well in Apple’s retail effort. It is appropriate for Dell to sell their devices adjacent to any other because that is they their corporate self – side by side we compare well. It is appropriate for Apple to sell in their own space because they see themselves as delivering something meaningful, something better.

    As any market matures, the buyers evolve from the hobbyist to the consumer. This is the end of the Windows-centric tinkering era and the beginning of the refined consumer-centric era of digital life. Apple is perfectly positioned.

  3. Why not display your product next to your competition ? Unless, of course, your competition blows your doors off. If all of the competitors are running the same OS, the only difference becomes
    the hardware and the price points.

    My best guess is that WalMart customers are more price driven and that becomes the tipping point in ” what you buy “.

    Good Luck Dell … Why did they cancel the retial store they were going to open at the Palisades Center ? Hmmm ….

  4. I don’t mind shopping at Wal-Mart for everyday items (groceries, CDs, etc…) but when it comes to major purchases, there is no way in hell I’ll shop there. Of course, that is mostly due to the fact that the electronics, and other major items, they sell are crap…

    MW=finally… FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO MAC DAILY NEWS!!!

    Sorry, couldn’t think of anything else…

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