Reseller News

Acer lets customers roll their own

ACER plans to install retail kiosks at 50 New Zealand resellers, allowing customers to configure their own PCs.

Acer sales and marketing director Raymond Vardanega says the kiosks will bring “collaborative commerce” between resellers and end users.

The hardware vendor says the kiosks will give resellers the opportunity to work with consumers, encouraging them to upsell.

Acer presented the kiosks to its channel late in August, claiming they were well received.

However, only resellers with a commitment to turn over $300,000 worth of Acer stock a year will be getting them.

Acer claims to be one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing PC retailers, reporting sales growth of 270% over the past year, largely supplied from its Sydney assembly plant. Rod Bassi, Acer New Zealand manager, says the company wants to be top dog in 2005.

Market analyst IDC says the retail kiosks should help, but Dell still has the best direct model and HP has better channel breadth and solutions.

New Zealand-based hardware analyst Liam Gunson says a recent withdrawal by store giant Farmers from the PC retail market hurt Acer, which needs to sell more to the corporate, education and government sectors. However, the vendor has gained a foothold here following a deal with the IRD late last year.

Gunson says the kiosks will find a home in large Pacific Retail Group stores, but limiting them to outlets with an annual Acer turnover of $300,000 may prevent their expansion beyond that, with smaller resellers probably missing out.

Bassi credits major retailers Dick Smith, Harvey Norman and Appliance Connection with helping Acer’s growth.

Apart from the in-store kiosks, buyers will be able to customise Acer products online, creating 50,000 possible variations, and order the products using the Acer Partner eCommerce (ApeC) system.

Alternatively, a customer could customise a PC at home and take the details into a store for a quote, giving the reseller a chance to upsell products and services.