Dell at retail: Stores that don't sell anything
Dell's first full-blown retail stores opened late last month in Dallas and West Nyack, New York, and they've started to draw curious shoppers -- and critical bloggers. When Dell first announced plans for retail stores, the company had plenty of skeptics. Sure, Dell already had hundreds of kiosks in malls across the country where customers could learn about its PCs and place orders, and the company claimed that the stores were just an extension of that strategy.
But although the new stores showcase products, they don't actually conduct sales; customers still have to call or order online to get anything they see. Renting actual retail space at considerable expense, without stocking inventory to fulfill shoppers' desires for instant gratification, struck many as just plain foolish.
When the online peanut gallery got a gander at an actual Dell store, thanks to some photos snapped by Gadgetell, a chorus of snarky posts popped up. Consumerist calls Dell's computer shop "a mix between Minority Report and a jewelry store." Gizmodo sniped that "this photo shoot lacks any kind of beautiful models, unless you consider overweight Dell salesmen beautiful." (To each his own.) And at Real Tech News, Alice Hill raises an excellent question: Since the Dell store doesn't actually sell anything, why does it have so many blue-shirt-and-khakis-wearing salespeople standing around?
It looks like a cheap, low-tech version of an Apple or Sony store. Dell is the every-person's PC. Anyone that wants something a little nicer goes with a high-quality computer label. That's not exactly the background needed for a niche-store replica of Apple and Sony. Instead, they just look like a fancy Radioshack.
In the movie, "The 40 Year Old Virgin", the question was asked about the store that sold items online for people on E-bay, why do you need a store for that? The same question applies here for Dell.
I find this extremely ridiculous. Now that they have "stores" in certain states, they can charge sales tax there. One great thing about buying Dells before was the savings on tax. It isn't really fair to call these "stores" if you can't actually buy something there. So people who thought they could save on Shipping & Handling can forget it, and instead tack on sales tax!
Sounds like a wicked job though! What's the pay like for a salesperson who doesn't have to sell anything?
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