Dell Turns To Wal-Mart For Its Retail Sales Drive

from the dell-mart dept

Last week, Wal-Mart announced that it was looking to step up its sales of consumer electronics. Also, lately, there’s been a lot of talk about Dell’s hunt for retail partners, as it looks to move beyond its strictly direct sales model. So it seems the two companies have been brought together by mutual interest, as starting next month, Wal-Mart will begin selling Dell PCs. This alone won’t be enough to reverse the fortunes of either company. Dell still needs to find shelf space at many more retailers to begin moving the dial, while electronics buyers aren’t likely to shift from Best Buy to Wal-Mart just because it’s selling one Dell model. Also, the move won’t be doing any wonders for Dell’s tired brand, which is already seen as less cool than Apple (obviously) and HP. But, it’s an important step in assuring people that direct sales is not a “religion” at Dell, a point that Michael Dell has been trying hard to stress.

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Comments on “Dell Turns To Wal-Mart For Its Retail Sales Drive”

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TheToe says:


Dell needs to recognize that consumers want what they want now, not next week. Not having a retail outlet has hurt Dell sales. Even if it’s the low end machines for dad and grandpa, you have to start somewhere. When given a choice to have the PC right now or wait a week for it to be shipped most low end users take what’s in front of them. If it’s on the shelf they are more likely to buy it than to wait.

Andrew says:

I work with dell in a college environment and have been very satisfied. I have heard a few horror stories on the home lines, but the buisness models have been great. That said it makes me wonder if Walmart is going to hurt their reputation. Walmart is know for making companies sell them cheaper(quality) to get the price lower.

Peter says:

Bad idea

This really isn’t a great idea. Although it is a good thing that Dell is moving towards a new sales strategy, selling at Wal-Mart is going to cheapen the brand. I personally have never had any problems with a Dell PC and have found than very reliable and even well designed in some cases, but selling at Wal-Mart will make anyone looking for a high quality computer look elsewhere.

Casper says:

Re: Bad idea

This really isn’t a great idea. Although it is a good thing that Dell is moving towards a new sales strategy, selling at Wal-Mart is going to cheapen the brand. I personally have never had any problems with a Dell PC and have found than very reliable and even well designed in some cases, but selling at Wal-Mart will make anyone looking for a high quality computer look elsewhere.

That’s not quite true. People who are looking to spend a more significant amount of money on a higher end system will typically be more educated then the average buyer. Generally they would know whether or not Dell provided a system that met their requirements.

SkippyTMut says:

Uhhh...has anyone thought this one through?

Am I the only one that remebers a time when Gateway computers were actually good? It was a long long long LONG time ago, but that time did exist. They did really well and the machines were pretty good quality. Then they went retail. And, well, I don’t think I have to tell you what happened next.

Furthermore…Walmart is synonymous with crap. Nobody ever expects to buy any quality product at Walmart. You go to Walmart when you need something cheap. I think that partnering with Walmart would be a bad move that would only further hurt Dell’s already slumping sales.

AMP says:

Re: Uhhh...has anyone thought this one through?

Retail killed Gateway in part because they used their own brik and mortar stores. That isn’t what Dell is doing here. I don’t think the comparison works.

Walmart offers a market that Dell is not currently getting, most likely. The Walmart demographic typically does not know what they want inside a PC and because of that are not going to go online and try to configure one on their own. They are also likely to be suspicious of purchasing items online. I think that the people outside of this demographic understand this and are not likely to turn away from Dell just because they are selling a specific, low end, model in Walmart.

Kevin O says:

Re: Uhhh...has anyone thought this one through?

Your right! I remember! The same thing happened to Schwinn, remember when they were quality? Then Wal-Mart got them. Wal-Mart is like a virus, where ever it goes and what ever it touches just turns to crap! Dells next, if anyone thinks this will not effect the high-end models their wrong. Dells customers service is already failing to keep up. It’s time to move on. I own three older Dells and they are good units. I’ll be replacing them with another brand now for sure.

Anonymous Coward says:

You can pretty much bet that with Walmart involved, the only thing being sold will be the cheapest pieces of under-powered junk they can produce, filled to the brim with crapware, similar to eMachines, Compaq, and HP units that now fill the shelves. But until consumers become educated enough to understand that a PC needs to be custom-tailored to their needs in order to be worth their money, you pretty much have to go that route.

I just feel sorry for the tech support people that will have to deal with the morons who shop at Walmart, because I’m willing to bet that people too stupid not only to use a computer, but too stupid to know how to go to Dell’s website and order one, will be buying these and then bombarding tech support with stupid questions. I can respect why Dell feels it needs to expand into this market, but I really think that in the long run, it isn’t really going to help much. At the very least, it won’t be their savior, not alone anyway.

Audioun Wade says:

Re: Re:

Why would you call people morons.Iam sure very many people dont have extra time or funds to buy a computer class.I was a novis 3 years ago.Didnt know anything about computers.And yes the first year if my pc crashed i would call dell.And belive me to this day there are some so called tech support people that sound like they are stanting on the other side of a bob wire fence yeling at you whith this God awful accent that will really give you a headace.But i will say there are a few of them that let me jot down some tips in case something else happend.But they spoke english well enough that i could understand.Let Dell sell what ever model they are going to sell but leave enough room for people to add upgrads video cards and all the other littel tech gadgets.They may not know how to do this at first but after they have learned from their mistakes beleive me they will be like trying get their computers upgraded to the max.And when they feel they are ready they will want to build one of their own.Are have one built.

you don't have to be a coward any more says:

Re: Re:

Anonymous Coward,

You seem to be preoccupied with posting comments to every article on Techdirt. If you’re lonely, reach out to a local Christian church. The love of Christ can fill the void that you keep trying to fill with posts to news articles in hopes of getting someone to respond. I responded to your article too, but not out of offense to what you said about people who shop at Wal-Mart (your intent?), but because it’s obvious by your screen name and your posting frequency (practically every article I’ve ever read on techdirt) that you need something. I’ll tell you, Jesus Christ can satisfy that need better than any online communication or otherwise. Just pick up a Bible and start reading it. Seek out answers to your objections and questions in the local Christian church. If you seek God, you’ll find that He’s been waiting for you all along. You might just find that you have a different view of people who shop at wal-mart. I’ll be praying for you.



rEdEyEz says:

Dell need additional customer support

Hasn’t Dell’s tech support ultimately been its problem all along?

Maybe Dell is smarter than you think…

If Dell can come up with a $100 Walmart version of an OLPC-style PC, not only can it flood the market with cheap crap here at home, but it can also flood 3rd world countries with the same “shinola”, and bolster it’s tech support base, – AT THE SAME TIME!

…pretty damn clever, great business strategy (model) too.

dorpus says:

Moving upmarket

Walmart is trying to move upmarket, so Dell could be a first step for bringing more middle class types into Walmart.

As far as wal-mart quality goes, they sell the same brand of e.g. allergy drugs much cheaper than any other store. And believe it or not, many of the grocery items sold at the local wal-mart is better quality than the overpriced, half-rotten garbage at Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market also considers itself too classy to sell normal foods like canned chili or Wonder Bread — wal-mart has a better supply of day-to-day foods.

ArLo says:

Dell & WalMart

If this is truly so, Dell will most likely only offer low to possibly mid-end PCs at Wal-Mart. Power user Clientele or hard core techies will definitely skip Wal-Mart and continue ordering on-line with custom built high-end spec PCs. The only positive that may occur, that I can see, is that Dell may end up flooding more consumer homes with their low-end PCs. This will most likely place unexpected pressures on Dell Support and it will take even longer to get the assistance one may need. Is Dell sacrificing quality for quantity? This may be a move which either can excel or virtually kill Dell. As for market factor, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

RichardatDELL (user link) says:

Dell and Wal Mart

Appreciate the feedback on this site and the commentary about Dell’s plans to sell two Dimension systems in Wal-Mart stores across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada by mid-June.

Just to clarify, this is the first step toward moving more aggressively into retail, and in the next 6 months or so you will see further actions by Dell to deliver what some of our customers want — additional ways to purchase our products.

We expect that the vast majority of our customers will prefer to buy direct from us, as many of you noted here, and we will continue to deliver that too.

BCKrogoth (user link) says:

Lower Standards? Is that possible?

(Disclaimer: I am a Walmart Electronics Associate, specialization in 360/PC games and Computers)

Why would Dell need to lower their standards just to sell to Walmart? Their low end “affordable” PCs are *just right* for Walmart.

Joking aside, I can actually see this helping both WalMart and Dell. You couldn’t even imagine the amount of people that end up buying the more expensive HP or Compaq computer sets than the brand they’ve never heard of. With a Dell on the shelves, even if its $100-200 more expensive (current computers on our shelves range from $478-$689) at around $800, they would sell like hotcakes (as far as computers go). Dude, White Trash’s getting a Dell.

techi2003 says:

Dell and Wal Mart Retail Sale

I can see how this topic is split, but from my point of view i definitely see what dell is doing here, even if they’re selling lower end dimensions (the amd’s and pen D’s) it really wont hurt dells good/high quality standards; i know many people who would disagree with me but i have 250 dells to deal with every day and their easy internal (physical) arragement is convinient i had to deal with HP’s and wasn’t too bad and i know that IBM offers the same easy interface but the company budget wouldn’t allow such prices, all in all as long as dell remembers not to include such things as the XPS lineup into Wal Mart than it should be fine because XPS is the dell prestige lineup and if they funnel it into walmart then all quality is down the drain. I’ll give you an example Hp does not have a prestige lineup even if they did you dont feel that because it is all being funneled in to the mass retail market giving the consumer a bad impression, whereas if you have a lineup where only computer literate/smart or big wallet people can access than you only serve those that deserve the high end/high quality of the XPS lineup, also Dell has its own XPS tech support therefore if the market is flooded with low end computers then all us computer literate will get a nice tech support not cluttered; the XPS tech support.

to conclude Dell knows best and if Micheal is stupid enough in dropping quality for quantity then dell is gonna die but if smart we have a long time with dell still.

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