Compaq last week confirmed that its DirectPlus online ordering system will be implemented worldwide, despite a lukewarm reaction to the strategy from embattled Compaq Australia officials (ARN October 28, page 1).
Ben Reeves, Compaq Australia's channel and segment marketing manager, told ARN recently that the Australian channel differs from its US counterpart and therefore may not be suitable to such a program.
"In the US, the program has been driven by the realisation that there are certain mar-kets where Compaq and its channel are not competing, but the Australian channel has done a good job of bundling solutions and services so there's no benefit in adopting it here at the moment.
"However, we will do so if we think it's going to be an enhancement to our existing business model," Reeves added.
In the US though, Compaq last week announced its decision to make the Prosignia PC the first product line to be offered by DirectPlus. The program will then be rolled out worldwide, starting with the UK.
Under the plan, customers can order the new Prosignia line up, including notebooks, desktops and servers, from the Web in any of "thousands" of configurations. Compaq will then ship the order "as early as the next business day or an average of within five business days", according to Compaq president and CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer.
The plan is aimed directly at leaders of direct PC sales - including direct-sales pioneer Dell as well as Gateway.
To differentiate the new line-up from other direct sellers, Compaq will offer a suite of services and support for business that may not have a dedicated IS staff, officials said. Included in the services are software modules, one of which officials said eases building Internet storefronts.
Compaq is also offering leasing services that will enable customers to pay for Prosignia machines and services through a single monthly bill.