With the increasing importance of both design and price in the end-user PC market, newly established manufacturer FishPC believes it can not only break into the market, but take it by storm.
And yes, its computer looks like a fish. The company, which was established in April this year, is now looking to build a reseller base for the computers, opening a sales section on its Web site specifically designed for the channel.
"FishPC started everything because it is different from the beige box," explained company CEO Tim Sabre. "But we have begun to bring in new designs and promotions. We are also creating a site that is really interactive - with message boards and chat rooms."
The company's unorthodox PC range is likely a reflection on its business model; FishPC sources and creates components with overseas manufacturers to sell both directly off its Web site and through the channel. Sabre claims the company's direct relationship with manufacturers means cost savings - 20-30 per cent on average - which can be passed down through the channel.
"We have moved away from the online business model," he said. "Although we do have a direct sales site, we want to work together with resellers - we offer attractive margins and our retail price is cheaper than many similar products cost wholesale. We supply all across Australia and we want the stores to be our supply channel."
In addition to the infamous computer box that resembles a fish, the company manufactures standard boxes. Sabre said resellers could make money by providing upgrades and services on these products.
"It is another reason we are concentrating on attracting good resellers - they can give the care to the customer that is embodied in our products.
The company will also release a 32MB MP3 player which will sell for under $200.
"The difference with Fish PC is we want to create something that interests the end user, but not just from a profit margin point of view. Resellers have jumped on board because the product is different and our prices are very good. For example, a wireless Internet mouse will typically cost $80, but we sell the product for $27, including GST."
Not content with moving boxes, the company has also teamed up with telecommunications company Isis to give customers free calls in over 30 countries without a time limit. It is part of a range of customer loyalty schemes such as free Internet, mobile phone calls and Fish Points, which can be collected simply by surfing the site. The company will soon launch a voucher system whereby customers can cash in their Fish Points for vouchers which they can then give as presents or spend online.
"Our Web site has been ranked amongst the top 10 in our category so we are up there with the likes of Toshiba," Sabre said. "We place value on our members and end users, even though they are not necessarily buying anything."