Hypertec's ability to build PCs to order has been a key part of its strategy since launching its manufacturing operation in February. Now the North Ryde-based company is gearing up to take its line of customisable PCs into the retail sector.
Hypertec managing director Geoff O'Reilly says the company will place three models of its Hyperformance PCs (under a new, yet-to-be-determined name) in the retail channel, starting in September. Depending on the model, prices will range from just under $2,000 to about $3,500, he said.
"Most of our competitors' prices start in the early $3,000s. The sub-$2,000 market has a whole segment awaiting it and there haven't been a lot of people addressing it," said Michael McGrath, Hypertec marketing manager. "At the lower end of the market you've got the sort of games-oriented home user. In the middle you've got the small office users, and at the top end you've got the more serious PC user who's looking for a lot of functionality with fax modem and Internet capability. We'll have a model aimed at each of those market segments at a price that's going to be very competitive," McGrath said.
Get your specs on
Beyond battling strictly on price, O'Reilly sees the retail sector as an ideal venue for Hypertec's wares. At the heart of Hypertec's retail strategy is the ability for customers to spec out their own PC, adding or taking away functionality and components to fit their own needs and budget. "We see an opportunity for customers to be able to walk into a store and say 'I've got this much to spend and this is what I'm after', " he said. "By configuring the system to their own, individual needs, they'll be able to walk away with the system they want. Of course, for those customers who know less about computers, we'll have sort of prepackaged models available. But, the ability to customise is always there. We're saying to the customer, 'What do you want?' "O'Reilly says all of this customising will occur in sales kiosks Hypertec plans to install in a number of major PC retailers - including Harvey Norman, David Jones, Grace Brothers, Radio Rentals and Vox - starting around September. The customer will visit the kiosk and, using a PC-based system, will spec out their own PC. Hypertec will then assemble the unit to the customer's specs and deliver it to their door within 72 hours, he said.
"Retailers won't have to carry a lot of stock because most of the units will be assembled to order at our plant. Dealers don't want to risk carrying a lot of stock, and what this system does is free them from that. The store is where the sale will take place, but the stock and assembly is all handled by us," he said.
O'Reilly says the PC market has dealt Hypertec and other manufacturers a few surprises lately. "Government sales are definitely down," he said. "Normally this is the silly season. After you've got a change of government you're normally looking at a lot of purchases being made, but I think a lot of public servants are more worried [whether they'll have] a job in a year's time. We were expecting a lot more out of Canberra, but it's been very quiet."
He says, however, some of the surprises have been good ones. "We've seen a real upswing in business from a lot of the smaller, tier two dealers," O'Reilly said. "We've also got a number of 'seed machines' with the Royal Australian Navy and Australia Post. We're finding the markets evolve in interesting ways."