A concerted effort is being mounted by a syndicate of businessmen in the local PC component distribution industry to introduce a new all-Australian brand of computer to the retail market. Further, the plan is to eventually expand the use of the brand name into a co-operative chain of stores which will sell themselves on quality products and services.
Hoping to launch on May 1 this year with the backing of intensive national magazine advertising and that of hardware distributor PSI Australia, the initiative will see the introduction of 4Ware as a brand name.
Heading up the 4Ware project is PSI's John Osgood who will be national manager. According to Osgood there has been a positive response from the dealers they have targeted but efforts to drive growth to sustainable numbers is only now just getting underway in earnest.
"We have a database of 4500 which we are approaching to inform them about what we are planning to do," Osgood said last week. "From those we hope to initially establish about 100 dealers to sell 4Ware computers.
"We only want the good ones that are genuinely committed to providing their customers with quality advice, products and service. We all know there are plenty of dodgy dealers out there and we certainly don't want to be involved with them in any way," he said.
Dealers wanting to join the 4Ware bandwagon will be asked to commit to buying 10 PCs per month which will include a 4 per cent premium to cover national advertising and other marketing costs.
Osgood said the final details of the contracts were being finalised last week and they will start signing up dealers this week.
With an entry price of about $1500, 4Ware initially hope to offer seven different PC configurations, including a Pentium III 500MHz offering at about $5200 that will be the top of the range. As is the case with all PCs, prices will fluctuate with component costs.
"We are fundamentally not interested in going into the bottom end of the market. We are only selling quality components built into quality systems with three year warranties on all the parts we use," Osgood said.
"We only want good reliable dealers. I have been led to the better end of the channel by asking a lot of dealers who it is that they would get to build them a PC for their own use.
"It is a lot like a lot of franchise systems. Once a dealer becomes a member, they will have no competitors within a prescribed area," Osgood said.