Consumers will be able to configure their own PC using an electronic kiosk at retail stores thanks to Hewlett-Packard and retailer Circuit City.
Beginning in late summer, shoppers in a number of Circuit City stores will be able to use a kiosk to customise one HP consumer model, the HP Pavilion 8300, with their choice of processor, memory and accessories. The PC will then be built to order and delivered to the store or to the buyer?s home address.
By late autumn, the programme is expected to run in more than 510 Circuit City stores in the US. HP is also talking to other retailers about the concept and company representative Ray Aldrich said that, if it succeeds, a European version is likely.
While HP is awaiting the outcome of the project, a move towards direct, build-to-order sales on the Web is a distinct possibility. ?It?s something we?re considering,? said Aldrich.
The company already has an online store called HP Shopping Village but this only sells accessories and refurbished PCs. Another site, HP Commerce Center, connects users to HP resellers. Aldrich said HP Shopping Village would be a likely place for HP to offer direct, build-to-order systems.
Faced with the success of direct vendor Dell Computer, vendors with an established distribution channel such as HP, Compaq Computer and IBM have been scrambling to fashion an adapted version of Dell?s model.
Aldrich said HP does not want to rush things. ?We want to get our feet wet.?
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