Dresses, Books, furniture, household goods, and now even computers can be ordered by mail. A few years ago what seemed an unlikely proposition, is now gaining popularity. People are now buying PCs through mail without even bothering to look at them.
More and more computers are being sold by the direct-mail. About 30 per cent of the 9 million PCs sold in the US were purchased through direct marketing. Dell Computers, the leader of the direct-marketing movement saw about 63 per cent increase in its sales last year.
Mail -ordered PCs come not only cheaper but even faster than those sold through regular outlets. A Digital Equipment Corp., (DEC)’s PCs can be mail ordered at half the cost of what they are available otherwise. Customers can directly contact their call-our-24-hour support line facility and avail the on-site after sales support service. A year-long warranty, money back guarantees and replacement of defective components are other incentives of the luring mail orders.
At a time when recession, cut-throat competition and price cutting is forcing companies to replan and device new strategies to score over their rivals, direct marketing is perhaps a better alternative to tide over the lean phase. Companies offering mail order facilities do noted to pile up an inventory, but can plan production according to demand. With many of them now taking to servicing their own products, they can reduce dealer dependence, trim dealer profits and overheads on dealer channelizing.
Encouraged by the booming mail-order sales, many computer manufacturers are gearing up to join the thriving $4.6 billion US mail-order computer market. IBM is already selling through catalogues in Europe and is negotiating to buy Northgate Computer Systems, which sells IBM compatible PCs by mail-order.
Others expected to follow suit include Compaq Computer Corp., and even Apple Computer Inc. But there are some like Wang Laboratories who have reverted back to traditional selling through dealers, when they found the catalogue sales making indents in their regular profits.