Toshiba's retail focus has generated some impressive results but it is still ramping up its retail strategy, according to education and retail marketing manager Aaron Blackman.
With the announcement of a retail exclusive product range back in March, Toshiba claimed it would tap into the only major market segment that it didn't dominate in notebook PCs.
Blackman revealed that its dedi-cated retail business has rocketed from a token 2 per cent to a substantial 10 per cent of its local revenues.
It's not the most profitable area, Blackman was willing to admit, but it has become a much more strategically important and substantial part of the vendor's business, he claimed.
`A key element of the [mostly mass retailer dominated] strategy has been the point-of-sale Freedom kiosks, which are in almost all metropolitan major retailers.'
The lack of information about notebooks in the retail environment was also identified as a major issue for Toshiba's retail push, he added.
`The purpose of the Freedom program is to help consumers make more informed buying decisions about notebooks and to provide a needs-and-cost benefits analysis, the sort of things that our professional commercial channel people do face-to-face with their prospects.'
And the investment in the kiosks is not a light one, with each unit estimated to cost $1000.
Toshiba's mass-retail focus is divided into direct-dealing retailers Harvey Norman and David Jones and distributor-serviced Myer/Grace Bros and Dick Smith Electronics, and the competition for market share is as intense as any other consumer item the department stores carry.
Toshiba has also stepped up from a long-term sub-$3000 retail ceiling to add the 2610 and 2650 DVD models to the Satellite 2600 series, retailing at $4199 and $4999.
`In the retail space, notebooks just have to have DVD, and it is high on the Christmas wish list. To keep the sub- $3000 space catered for, we have the 2100 CDS.'
As an added incentive for the DVD-less 2100 CDS, Toshiba has bundled it for Christmas with the Logitech video camera at no extra cost, an offer which has reportedly won Compaq some sales recently, and certainly fuelled the low-cost videoconferencing and gaming markets.
Toshiba's new Satellite 2600 range
Satellite 2610 DVD
Intel Celeron 433MHz
12.1 inch colour TFT display
V.90/K56 Flex modem
Satellite 2650 XDVD
Intel Celeron 466MHz
14.1 Colour TFT Display
V.90/K56 Flex modem
Satellite 2100 CDS
AMD K-6-2 400MHz with 3D Now
12.1 inch colour DSTN display
V.90 Data Fax modem
Logitech QuickCam Home - Christmas Promotion$2999 RRP