Compaq heats custom PC battle

Compaq heats custom PC battle

Compaq has added another piece to its retail PC channel puzzle with the launch of a customised PC initiative designed to target PC-savvy consumers.

The move also gives the vendor another weapon in the head-to-head battle with the configure-to-order capabilities of online rivals Dell and Gateway.

Compaq reports the initiative offers consumers the ability to buy configure-to-order PCs through certain retail outlets across the country. The outlets will be dubbed "Built For You" Computer Solutions Centres, which completes Compaq's retail, call centre and online purchasing options, according to a statement released by the company yesterday.

Since November Compaq has rolled out the kiosk-style facilities in 75 retail stores, including Clive Anthonys, Clive Peeters, Myer, Radio Rentals in South Australia and Retravision, with plans to take the kiosks to a further 300 to 400 stores by the end of the year. This would represent around 25 per cent of all Compaq-affiliated retail outlets.

Using the online kiosks, customers can select processors, hard drives, memory specifications, CD-RWs, DVDs, various Internet access options, monitors, printers and a selection of Compaq CarePaq warranty options. The customer receives a printed out copy of the desired configuration, which is then built-to-order at Compaq's Australian Technology Centre before being delivered in around seven to 10 days.

Compaq's market research concluded that while most of it's consumer PCs are still being bought through retail outlets, a growing number of consumers have enough PC experience to want something more suited to their needs than an off-the-shelf product, claims Ben O'Leary, Compaq Australia's group manager, direct business group, consumer division.

"This is definitely a partnering program that delivers on the bricks and clicks ideal," O'Leary told ARN. "Compaq's retailers have never been able to offer this before."

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