Yesterday saw Compaq's retail strategy become a reality with the opening of eight Compaq Connect stores in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Compaq's dedicated small business and expert consumer Web site and call centre also began operations yesterday, finalising Compaq's new distribution model.
A range of small business products to fill both the online and street stores, including an upgraded Presario range, the recently released Prosignia desktops, notebooks and servers, and the new NeoServer, are available immediately.
The stores are located at Bennettswood, Brighton, Richmond, Mitcham and Dandenong in Melbourne and Aspley, Carindale and Brisbane CBD in Queensland.
The stores are divided into three sections correlating with Compaq's target markets: small businesses, homeowners and Internet solutions, with tailored packages offered in each section.
Leasing options are available through Compaq Financial Services.
The outlets will concentrate on offering each commercial segment three services: inbound sales, outbound sales and configuration capabilities.
The configuration centre will also be made available to Compaq's existing channel, with negotiations on the specifics of this arrangement underway with several channel partners, according to Balmer.
The stores will carry around four to five days of stock, most of it promised to be configure-to-order products.
Bennettswood's store manager, Simon Haggard, claims there will be a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for build-to-order machines. If a certain store is busy there is a "floating assembly resource" that can move around to each store as it is required.
All machines pushed through the store will be tested on the premises. Installation services and Compaq CarePAQs are also offered, which include service and support 24 x 365, warranty extensions and software support.
Compaq Connect stores will initially have a manager, one store-based salesperson, two mobile salespeople (who will canvass local businesses), and an engineer.
Robert Balmer, Compaq's business manager, consumer, suggested the retail and Internet strategy, as part of Compaq's greater supply chain remodelling policy, will be able to offer more aggressively priced products and services. "There will be product parity wherever you buy a Compaq product," Balmer reassured. "But Compaq can now ensure better prices through its re-engineered supply chain."
For example, an entry-level Presario, now $1999, will be $300 cheaper in any retail outlet and Balmer brags that Compaq can now beat Dell on price, if it wanted to.
Compaq Connect stores also stock a range of peripherals such as software, Big Pond Internet access and mobile phones.