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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

PCPro reports that Dell has announced plans to open two retail stores later this year. Dell has been successful as a direct (mail order) only operation which is claimed to be the most cost-effective.

The company has always insisted that retail stores would be loss making, but Apple's success in generating over $1bn worth of sales in a single quarter through its network of more than 100 stores appears to have presaged a change of heart.

Dell currently does operate 161 kiosks in shopping centers nationwide, but this retail initiative would open two 3000 square foot stores - one in Dallas, TX and another in New York. Customers will not be able to purchase Dell computers at the store, however. Instead, the stores will simply offer demos and sales staff to answer questions.

Dell's expansion, of course, will draw comparisons with Apple's retail expansion which has received a lot of media attention. Apple's 5th Avenue Store opened just last week to a long line of waiting customers.

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
Macrumors said:
Customers will not be able to purchase Dell computers at the store, however. Instead, the stores will simply offer demos and sales staff to answer questions.
Wow-- talk about unclear on the concept...


macrumors regular
Jan 22, 2003
Heathfield, UK
Are they kidding?

This sounds nuts, I think that the idea of viewing and asking then leaving with nothing but a bit of paper is a most satisfying retail experience - not.

Also think of the visual appeal "Mom look there's a shop selling gravestones" "Son, those aren't gravestones they are Dell towers"



macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2005
Let me guess… tomorrow (tuesday), they're going to announce that they will build a 32 by 32 foot glass cube in the center of Boston, and have a 20,000 square foot store underneath, with a giant floating Dell sign in the middle of the cube. And then when someone goes in there and asks about the resemblance to Apple's cube, they'll answer, what other almost identical cube.

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
Hopefully, in trying to copy Apple's retail experience, they end up emulating Gateway. :cool:

Having a store, with no units for retail sale ... sort of ruins the day for some of the impulse shoppers, who may just change their mind.


macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2006
Grand Rapids
Worst Idea Ever!

"I would like this piece of junk Dell machine."

"No,no, you can't buy one in the Dell store. You have to order it so you can't have instant dissatisfaction from your new computer."


macrumors 68030
Sep 20, 2005
New Jersey
Not selling computers in-store is the first mistake right there...

Secondly, they don't have a top-selling iconic product like the iPod to lure customers in. The world knows Apple for their iPod and stylish computers.

And thirdly, what kind of experience is going to keep the customers coming back for more? Apple Stores offer everything: demos, customer service, workshops, in-store purchases

I look forward to going to Apple stores for the immaculate design they represent. Will Dell off that? Most likely not.

I know I sound biased, but it's true.


macrumors 68020
Jan 12, 2006
I still would like to be able to take the box with me at the store like I did today for my Macbook. Of course, this involves having the products in stock. However with Dell's MANY BTO options, it's just not realistinc to have all the configrations in the store. I welcome the Dell "try out places". If I had not seen this Dell display (see sig) at a friend's, I'd never had thought of buying it. I don't think Dell is copying Apple here. They just want to expand their market the the people reluctant to buy something they did not see in person before.


macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2004
This should be interesting...

I'll have to check out the NYC store when it opens. I'll be curious what the Dell Store experience will be in comparison to Apple's.


macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2003
Why this won't work.....

Dell cannot make this work without actually having computers to sell in the store. Customers want to walk out with the product they came in for, just like they can in the Apple stores. If Dell wants to survive, they need to act like Gateway did a couple of years ago, close down all the stores and move into the retail spaces like Circuit City, Best Buy and CompUSA. The Apple retail stores work because like to come in there and play with the cool equipment and decide which iPod they want. The iPod draws so many people into the Apple stores, what is going to draw people into the Dell stores? Alienware?



macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2001
Los Angeles
Problem with the dell retail store is, that after 150 visitors through the door, the lights go off, the doors slam and the clerks start speaking really sloooooowly. The regional manager has to swing by and flip the reboot switch, and defrag.


macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2005
I see this going the way of the Gateway stores (which preceded the Apple stores, I believe), especially if the stores intend to be an "experience" of the product, rather than a hub for actually selling the product.

I think the Apple stores work because Apple has so much cachet -- even in the logo itself. People travel for Apple stores -- will anyone travel for a Dell store?

More simply ... Apple has a real, cultural identity. Dell is just another Windows box. Unless this is the start of OS Dell, this can only be good for Apple.

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
Too many build options ... to do a custom computer "in-store"

Wal-Mart seems to think that expanding their offering of a bunch of pre-packaged bundles, to including build-your-own-computer counters is the way to go.

Dell is letting their biggest possible competition get a foothold.


macrumors newbie
May 16, 2006
I don't care if Dell's store would staff knowledgable people, offer refreshments upon eneterring, serve a 4-course meal, and give you a backrub while you're in the store - Dell's garbage technical support is why I don't own any Dell's now. We used to own only Dell, but then switched to Apple because of a good tech support experience with Apple.

I don't see Dell opening a store that looks like Apple's, but I do think they'll try to copy Apple by having stark white and jet black laptops. Oh Dell - I pitty you.


macrumors 6502
May 16, 2005
jne381 said:
"I would like this piece of junk Dell machine."

"No,no, you can't buy one in the Dell store. You have to order it so you can't have instant dissatisfaction from your new computer."

Yeah it's like that "We Sell Your Stuff On eBay" shop on The 40 Year Old Virgin. Haha.

Anyone agree?


macrumors G4
Jul 18, 2002
I accidentally my whole location.
The reason why Apple's model works so well (as mentioned elswehere) is you can go in, test it out and take it home if you like it. They do offer BTO orders but the majority of the configurations are stock. Dell on the other hand specialises in BTO orders, just take a look at their configuration page on the site, they have waaay more options than Apple ever will. There's a reason why you can't just buy these in stores and that's because it doesn't fit in with their business model. What purpose does a store have if you can't buy anything in it, is everything going to be special order? I wonder how much of Apple's retail business comes from people going in there and coming out with something, I'm guessing its a pretty good percentage.

Its a good thing to try something out before you buy but its something else entirely when you can bring it home with you. I mean, how many retail stores operate on that kind of business?


macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2006
Apple stores have two distinct types of customers:

1. The die-hard Macheads who really know their stuff, and would like to pick up
an Airport Extreme or mini-DVI to Video or extra RAM for their new MacBook, i.e. the average MacRumors user.


2. The pop-culture based cosumer who wants to go to buy an iPod... Just an iPod...maybe a case for an iPod... but nothing else but an iPod. People who would not know the difference between a clamshell iBook and a PowerBook G4. I have nothing against these people though.

A Dell store would not have the second group of consumers... Apple is probably the only computing company that generates enough popular press to have stores as a viable option.


macrumors G5
Mar 20, 2003
Bay Area
"stores" where you can't actually buy products?? No matter what else they do right, that right there is going to doom them, period.


macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2006
Salt Lake City
Not offering computers for sale at a 3000 square foot store? What kind of sense does that make?

I think it's a good idea to let the public see the other things they have to offer, such as their monitors and TVs. There's no comparison between looking at an LCD TV online and seeing it in real life.

If they don't offer anything for sale (which I doubt) I could see this as one of the worst possible jobs in retail:

"Hello, welcome to the Dell Demo Center."
"Can I get a laptop?"
"I'm sorry, we don't sell anything here. But feel free to open Notepad and Calculator on our display models. I think there are a few that aren't stuck in an endless malware-induced loop."



macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2005
My Mac
HAHAHAHAHA...................this is just great. Dell is obviously feeling the heat with Apple's increase in popularity and market share.
I love it. This will just help consumers flock to the Apple stores. :D

People like convenience. They will want to take home their new computer, not take the time to go to the store, play with it, place an order and then have to wait for it to arrive. Blah.
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