Dell turns to Exertis to support its return to retail

After a two year break away from the market Dell has signaled that it is returning to the retail market in a major way this autumn

Dell is quite good at doing u-turns with style and two years after it wound down its investment in the retail market the vendor will have its products back on shelves and etailers sites this Autumn.

The vendor decided a couple of years ago to put its muscle behind activities in the commercial market and took away a lot of the funds it had been putting into the retail pot and cut down advertising and demand generation efforts.

It continued to sell consumer products online in the UK but pulled back from taking a concerted effort in the retail market in all but five countries - China, India, Brazil, US and Canada.

Over the last couple of years the firm has learnt a lot by concentrating its efforts in just a handful of territories and saw its market position improve in those countries as a result.

Now it is the turn of the UK to get the retail focus back and Dell has appointed Exertis to handle distribution into the major retailers.

Sarah Shields, executive director and general manager, Dell Channel UK, (pictured) said that it had learnt a couple of key lessons in its time away and was now returning stronger and more determined to succeed in the retail space.

"The first thing we learnt was to develop products that are designed for retail. That might mean making a few small tweaks but it has been a pretty massive change in our overall approach," she added "We now have the best range of products I have seen in a long time, right from entry level to the high end and with Alienware into the gaming arena."

"the other thing we learnt was around engagement and how we work with our retail partners and how we support them through the sales model. That's why we are working with Exertis, which has been selling Dell since 2008, because it has those relationships," she added.

The major names in retail met with the vendor last week and were interested in getting Dell back onto their shelves and web pages and the expectation is that products, all using Windows 10,  will be available from october.

Dell is looking to work with a wide range of retailers to ensure that it is able to reach a broad customer base.

"We have gone out to the big names in the market, so you would be able to guess the names on the invite list. We want good high street presence and real specialist presence. There is a real opportunity around the Alienware products," said Shields.

From the retailers perspective it is a welcome return of a large brand. In the last couple of years after Dell pulled back its focus out of retail it was followed by Sony and Samsung and the products that were available on the high street and out of town shopping parks shrunk.

Shields added that it was also approaching the market with a wider view of just what was required to meet customer needs with it taking more than just a PC and laptop approach.

"We want to engage with the right partners that can take full advantage of what we are building because it is different this time. it's mot just a PC and laptop it is a whole ecosystem of products," she said.

Mike Buley,  retail director at Exertis, said that it had been working with Dell for a number of years and had the strong relationships with the retailers that would underpin the extension of its involvement with the vendor.

"We have a good SME business with Dell and the consumer range is part of the process they are following and we understand Dell and the product set," he said.

He added that the reaction from the retailers had been positive and they liked the way Dell was returning to the market with a plan and was showing intentions of making a real commitment to the market.

The timing of the return to retail should also position Dell firmly in the shop window for Christmas sales armed with a range of shiny machines that are exploiting the buzz around Windows 10.

Shields added that the brand already resonated with the market and many people used Dell products in the workplace and would be prepared to use the vendor's hardware at home.

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