A few days ago Dell announced its plans to begin selling PCs through third parties. Today, Wal-Mart has confirmed it will start selling two of Dell's Dimension desktop models, each offered in a package bundle under $700, in more than 3,400 the chain's stores beginning June 10. Dell's change of strategy marks the first time in almost two decades that the company has not been involved directly in the sale of its machines; however Dell's spokesman Bob Pearson made it clear they are not abandoning its direct sales model.
Dell says it chose Wal-Mart because of how well it knows its customers. "Ninety percent of Americans shop in a Wal-Mart," said Pearson. "We're comfortable they know their customer experience."
The world's second-largest PC maker insists the Wal-Mart retail relationship is "not a pilot" program, calling it "part of a global retail strategy that you're going to hear a lot more about." Still, deciding to sell PCs retail is not a simple undertaking.
Dell is under pressure to turn the company around and regain lost market share. Selling through Wal-Mart will give Dell's products a lot of exposure, a chance to reach a new customer base and valuable experience as a retail newcomer as they struggle with changes to their traditional business. No specific comments were made on more retail partners beyond Wal-Mart, but they are to be expected as part of Dell's "global retail strategy".