Ye'sterday's posting about the shutting down of Dell's Kiosks and Palm's retail outlets got me to thinking.
The two announcements are really apples and oranges with different issues and different motivations for those decisions.
Palm is getting out of the retail business, it appears, to pay off a lawsuit. Handheld sales will go on at most of those airport outlets, just under new signage with an expanded array of name brands.
Dell's decision to sell low end PCs at WalMart seems to be working out well. (Is it possible to fail in retail sales at WalMart?). But the kiosk thing is a bitter reminder of Gateway's attempt at bricks and mortar storefronts. Granted the kiosks were not about selling on the spot, but rather checking out the goods and having someone help you order online from their counterspace.
My question of the day: Why have PC sales always been an iffy proposition in traditional retail outlets, while cell phone stores continue to pop up like mushrooms in strip plazas everywhere?
I don't know about you, but where I live in CT; when my community sees a "coming soon" sign in an empty retail space, it usually means either another (*&^% bank branch or its a cell phone outlet. We haven't gotten a new Starbucks or Borders in ages where I live. But you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a new T-Mobile store or Commerce Bank.
Is it because:
a) handhelds are cheaper and, therefore, more attractive to impulse shoppers?
b) The younger generation of mobile users likes to touch, feel, comparison shop and buy accessories for their latest wireless toys. The older generation may prefer buying their PCs out of stores, but they've accepted the online method.
c) People make their buying decisions about PCs based on functionality. With mobile devices,there's a cosmetic need and a need to accomodate each users own personal ergonomic comfort zone.
d) all of the above.
e) none of the above.