Dell: We're Selling PCs At Walmart!

Dell announced today that Walmart will be selling Dell Dimension PCs in-store as part of a new retail strategy. From

In a statement, Dell spokesman Bob Pearson said, “Our customers are asking us for additional ways to purchase our products and we plan on delivering on a global level. Offering Dell Dimensions in Wal-Mart is a great example of this approach.”

Dell seems to be contemplating offering their computers in other retail outlets as well.

Dell declined to make executives available for an interview, and Mr. Pearson declined to give further details. He suggested that other retail moves might be in the offing, however.

In the statement, he added, “Today’s announcement with Wal-Mart represents our first step. Stay tuned.”

They sound almost sad, don’t they?

So, would you buy a Dell at the Walmarts? —MEGHANN MARCO

Dell to Sell PCs at Wal-Mart [WSJ]
(Photo: RDBKKR)

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  1. b612markt says:

    I wouldn’t buy a Dell at Wal-Mart. I am composing this comment on a Dell and I have no issue with Dell. I do, however, choose not to do business with Wal-Mart at all. My choice is facilitated by my geography – in Chicago it’s really hard to even find a Wal-Mart. (Thank goodness!)

  2. critical_matt says:

    The only reason I would say no is the same reason I wouldn’t buy an off the shelf computer from any retail outlet. Customization. Other than that I’d have no problem buying from evil Walmart.

    p.s. I hear they get to kill a puppy for every Dell they sell…

  3. rmz says:

    It’s better than the E-Machines they used to (still?) sell, at least.

  4. foghat81 says:

    While it’s not for me (Dell fan who usually customizes and/or strikes when there’s a “slickdeal” *wink*) I see it overall as a good move. They’re behind HP/Compaq now and need to try different things. There’s a lot of people out there who need the hand-holding and walk-through that in-store purchases allow.

    Good business move. I think linking up w/ Target could have been better to try and get slightly higher-end customers in, but most targets don’t have much of a computer section.

  5. Starfury says:

    Dell’s gotta do what it can to keep increasing sales/profits. Good for them. However: I won’t be buying a Dell system, I build my own.

  6. enm4r says:

    @b612markt: That’s because Walmart would actually be forced to pay higher wages/healthcare for associates for being in the city of Chicago.


    I don’t see why this is a bad thing. I’ll never own a Dell PC, but I’ve bought from them before when the deals are right, and my dual 20″ widescreens are rebranded Dells. I don’t think they should limit themselves to Walmart though, that seems an odd move but I’ll just have to “stay tuned.”

  7. mopar_man says:

    Not a hope in hell. While I’ve heard few complaints about a Dell, I refuse to step foot into a Wal-Mart. How hard is it to go onto the Dell website and order a computer? Or even call them and do it. You can customize it that way too instead of buying whatever Wal-Mart tells you to. My personal preference still says with building my own from quality components though.

  8. nightbird says:

    Heh heh, “reatil”. Nice tag.

  9. Maragon says:

    I think that it’s a fitting business partnership.
    After all, Dell IS the Walmart of the computer world.

  10. mac-phisto says:

    well, considering dell’s high fail-rate, i think it could actually be smarter to buy it at wal-mart vs. say, best buy. wal-mart’s “no questions asked” return policy virtually guarantees you a new computer w/o the runaround of sending it to geek squad for technical diagnosis.

    to those pushing customization – you’re right, you can build a much better computer online. my guess is the $399 deals are what you’ll see at wal-mart (for $397).

  11. Emrikol says:

    I love walmart (the store) but hate walmart (the company) . If they can give a very good price point, then I buy. Otherwise, it goes to the cheapest.

  12. Uriel says:

    When billionaires join forces, everyone’s gotta lose!

  13. CaptainRoin says:

    @foghat81: “There’s a lot of people out there who need the hand-holding and walk-through that in-store purchases allow.”

    Who are you going to find at Walmart that can walk you through a computer purchase?

    worst…. idea…. ever.

  14. Dibbler says:

    I wouldn’t buy a Gateway (e-machine) from them and I won’t buy a Dell from them. Buying a PC that’s been sitting on a Walmart shelf for 4 months is already working hard at becoming obsolete or at least old technology. It’s always hard to tell what’s inside the box as far as components go as well. It’s just too easy to search for the online coupons for Dell then go to the website and have it built the way I want.

  15. mantari says:

    I am fine with this. I assume that Wal-Mart will still carry low cost PCs, and they’ll have a major vendor’s name attached.

    The only loser that I can see might be Dell. (The famous Wal-Mart vendor squeeze.) They’re offering two models, so it isn’t an exclusive deal. Wal-Mart will still be able to play one vendor against the other.

    Yeah, actually, this one I’d say is a win for the consumer.

  16. foghat81 says:

    @CaptainRoin: I would like to think Wal Mart would have quasi-trained people back there. Even if not, so many people out there just want *somebody* to help them with their purchase. How many times has the computer salesperson (or other floor person) been totally wrong at Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. Consumers don’t alawys get all the right info to feel good about the purchase. They just think they get all the right info and feel good about their purchase.

    Again, it’s not for most computer-savvy folks. It’s for the “So how do I burn a CD with music on it?” folks :)

  17. MoCo says:

    Sounds like a match made in heaven: A low class retailer and a sleezy manufacturer. Good for the stockholders, bad for the customers.

  18. Aeroracere says:

    As long as Dell continues to have shoddy customer service and outsource their customer service calls to people who thus far (in my personal experience, at least) have no interest in understanding what the problem with a given system is, I will not buy another Dell product.

    Ditto for Microsoft.

  19. quail says:

    Dell is a good computer as long as you stay with the higher priced business machines. But that could be said about any of the PC manufacturers.

    And no, I wouldn’t buy a PC from Wal-Mart. They’ve got price points to achieve, which means the machine you get there would have to be the lowest end model possible. No slots for expanded memory. No empty expansion slots. The cheapest mother board possible. With updates for windows the way they’re coming the machine would be a good candidate for Linux in two years.

  20. tekkierich says:

    I am an IT manager and I stay as far away from Dell as I can.
    If I was Dell and having problems projecting a quality brand anymore, this is exactly what I would not do. Products sold in a Walmart are never known for quality.

    My final straw with them was Dell Finance continually harassing me on my cell phone about a former roommate’s debt. I gave them an ultimatum in writing after a week where I received 15 phone calls.
    They had two weeks to stop calling me. One call after my two week ultimatum and would put them on a 5 year boycott.

    3.5 years to go. It is a shame because they make some nice monitors that I would like to buy. But I wont.

    After my boycott is up in 2011 I will probably be a 100% kool-aid drinking Apple fanboy.

  21. tigerjade says:

    Wal-mart has managed to drag down the reputation of many of the companies whose products it distributes. Isn’t it Toro that refuses to sell lawn equipment at Wal-mart? So, how long until Dell starts to suffer from this relationship?

  22. OBoogie says:

    I used to work at Wal-Mart Corporate, and if I had a few hours I would explain all of the misconceptions about the place and its principals. I’m young, ultra-libral, and yet I still worked and still shop at Wal-Mart. Gasp! The place isn’t perfect (not even close), but it isn’t the hell hole all of you guys seems to think it is.

    I think this is a smart move for Dell. They will sell millions of computers, and it gives the Wal-Mart customer an opportunity to move beyond the e-machines and other random off-brands.

  23. PenguinBlue says:

    So much for Dell losing the “every man’s computer” image they’ve been trying to shake every since the “Dude, you’ve got a Dell” campaign.

  24. clarient says:

    I wouldn’t buy a Dell if you tried to sell if to me from an Ice Cream Truck.

    While I can understand why Dell would make this kind of move, the only result will be ignorant customers buying inadequate machines for more than they are worth. Walmart is known for selling for less – therefore, expect the lowest quality computers for the lowest price possible.

    Mmmm, I love me some crappy processors.

  25. ivieso says:

    Dell is the best company ever. Please buy Dell because the stock price is screwing up my portfolio.

  26. Timewalker says:

    @foghat81: No, Wal-Mart doesn’t have any quasi-trained people w/ respect to PCs. Trust me. The best you will get is someone to stand next to you and read the box/label on the shelf. Unless…. you luck out and a teen/college student is working there part time and actually knows something about computers and takes pity on you.

  27. ivieso says:

    @tekkierich:
    If your IT dept isnt buying Dell, then what is it buying? HP?…Gateway?…haha you gotta be kidding me right?

  28. Type-E says:

    I thought the original strategy that Dell had which made them so successful is the fact that they only do direct sale and avoiding middlemen

  29. etinterrapax says:

    I don’t really care that much about Dell, and I loathe Wal-Mart, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be a poor business move for both of them, just from having read the Snapper mower and Vlasic pickle tales. Retail computer sales are already suffering under constant downward pressure on prices and lousy service moves like moving call centers overseas. Pretty much all home computers are prone to malfunction and breakage, and probably even more so when they’re trusted to the tender mercies of your average Wal-Mart customer and/or a heavy-handed child. I really don’t expect WM to maintain its usual return policy on such a high-end, low-margin item, and of course they don’t have a service department. I suspect they’ll just drive Dell out of business first by forcing them to cut costs so much elsewhere to offer the cheapest machine in retail, that the whole company suffers; and second, by increasing their number of warranty repairs past the point of profitability.

  30. shades_of_blue says:

    Dell can do whatever they want, their consumer level computers went down the drain around the time P3 systems came out. Did you know that Dell considers a 12% failure fate in the first 24hours of ownership acceptable? Well they do, and said so during a guided tour of their UK assembly plant. My work actually blew up the article and quote, then framed and mounted it to the left of our greeting desk. How’s that for a good laugh? Just thinking about it made me laugh.

    Myself, I’ll stick to building my own systems. BTW mine can be found in silentpcreview’s general gallery, same user id.

  31. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The question is, will Dell bend to the will of Wal-Mart and further cheapen or strip down their machines to meet Wal-Mart’s price? As it does with many other vendors, Wal-Mart often dictates how the vendor builds the product.

    (And…will Dell machines now come in your favorite NASCAR colors?)

    I can’t say this comes as any surprise. If you had told me 5 years ago that Wal-Mart would be selling plasma TV’s, I would have thought that was crazy..but here we are.

  32. jlrolin says:

    Here’s the problem: Dell computers will become massive bloated crap machines when sold through Wal-mart.

    Same thing Best Buy does, they bloat the machine with so much crap, it’s slower in your home than it is on display at the store. The E-Machine was the epitomy of this, of course, the machine was a piece of crap to begin with. But a high end Dell could see a performance lag because of all this software they load on these systems for promotional reasons. I’ve literally never looked at a system from a store due to this problem.

    That and I had a friend get a PC from Best Buy one year and we ran an AVG scan and found 4 pieces of spyware on the system on the first boot.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    Doesn’t this assume that Dell’s problem is that they’re missing a segment that shops retail, and not quality problems or customer service inadaquacies?

    It doesn’t address Dell’s problems. Just smoke & mirrors. Plus an added layer of complexity to service a new channel. One that’s already insanely competitive.

  34. josh42042 says:

    I sense a great disturbance in the force, as if a thousand tech support workers cried out in pain at once…

  35. TechnoDestructo says:

    I seem to recall Gateway appearing in K-mart just as they were beginning their downward spiral into irrelevance.

  36. Summerchild810 says:

    Good move for Walmart. They are trying to offer more of a variety of computers that do have above average ratings. Gotta do your homework kids. Some of the graphics cards do need upgrading though. To those of you who think they are not trained in computers your wrong many hours of training. So in defense of the Walmart electronics employees. If your going out to purchase a computer or any other item that is going to cost over $500 you should do some research on it, instead of expecting a sales person to teach you what you should have researched on your own. After all your the one spending the money. And most of those part-time teens or college students your talking about are too busy socializing with their friends to take time to give you a crash course on computers. You see I am not a teen or a college student, been there done that, and I am an electronics sales person and I do know about computers. I do however, have sense enough to do research on a product I am going to spend money on.