Dell Germany to boost Internet sales

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LANGEN, Germany - Dell Germany plans to earn half its turnover on line by the year 2000, boosting Internet sales to $1 million a week from the current $500,000 plus.

At present most Internet sales are to private PC buyers and small businesses, groups that account for roughly 20 percent each of Dell Germany's overall sales.

But the most lucrative part of the business, the 60 percent large business and corporate buyers, have not been brought fully into Website sales.

"Our private and home office customers are sophisticated users who are buying their second or third computers," Hans Juergen Mammitsch, head of Dell's German operation and VP for Central Europe, said.

"These people are experienced Internet users and the web is an ideal sales channel on which to reach them. I've often said that if the Internet hadn't come along we would have had to invent it."

Dell maintains a German sales force spread across the country to reach corporate clients, which are carefully targeted in an "account specific" manner, Mammitsch said.

"Once we get corporate clients to order on the Internet a lot of things that cost time and money become unnecessary. Ordering will be much simpler and our workforce productivity will increase exponentially."

Everybody else sells on the Internet, he conceded, "but nobody does it as consistently as we do. The Dell shop is only a part of our Internet presence.

"We have over 35,000 pages on the Internet down to information about systems we no longer build. You can download all kinds of technical information from drawings to software and technical flow charts. Everything you need to reconfigure your computer system is available."

Mammitsch pointed out that a customer ca could obtain this information on the phone but that the Internet takes a big load off the company's call center operations.

"We can't handle everything on the phone. We need a call center for our technical support services where we offer customers help for the life cycle of the product."

Dell Germany has 350 employees including those that service its call center. It ranks 5th or 6th in Germany in terms of market share, behind market leader Siemen Nixdorf, Fujitsu and Compaq but ahead of IBM. Big Blue, he said, "has lost a lot of ground lately."

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