Dell's Answer to Apple Stores: Wal-Mart

A Dell spokesman said that, in response to customer requests for additional ways to buy their computers, Dell will start selling selected PCs on June 10th through 3,000 Wal-Mart stores.

Duane Cox said, in a report by CRN, that the move is part of his companyis evolving strategy toward reinventing itself. "Our customers are asking us for additional ways to buy our stuff, to buy our products," Mr. Cox said. "We plan to do that, to deliver against their request on a global level."

Dell, which has been bad beaten badly by Hewlett Packard in PC sales lately, has had to scramble to discover the new customer buying habits.

Customers, increasingly interested in notebook computers have shown a preference for touching and feeling the computer before buying it. Interestingly, Dell has responded by distributing two desktop versions at Wal-Mart, a Dimension E521 both with and without a 19-inch display.

Dell has noted that their rivals, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Apple, have all reported PC unit growth via retail outlets for the last 18 months. Appleis growth is no doubt related to their retail storesi buying experience, but also the the Genius Bar where customers can obtain personalized support after the sale. How Dellis agreement with Wal-Mart will sit with customers who would also like that kind of personal buying experience of a complex item like a PC with Windows Vista remains to be seen.