Tech Industry

Dell moves toward small business

Dell expands its Internet-based sales and marketing program to include small business customers, the company announced today.

Dell Computer is expanding its Internet-based sales and marketing program to include small business customers, the company announced today.

The Premier Page program allows corporate, education, government, and now small business customers to view purchasing and service information online. Previously it had been limited to larger corporate customers.

Dell thus joins PC rival Compaq, which recently launched a campaign targeting the fast-growing small business market, packaging products, financing, help services, and e-commerce advice for small companies. Seventy-eight percent of small firms use PCs, and 40 percent of small businesses used the Internet on a daily basis in 1997, according to market research firm IDC, a sharp rise after several years of stagnant growth.

Dell is hoping that smaller companies with limited technology personnel will take advantage of the Premier Page program in lieu of a larger IS department. Customers can access the data via a personalized Web page to track orders, create custom reports, and purchase systems online.

Conceived in 1996 as a service for large corporate customers, the program is now used by 1,000 organizations, according to Dell.

Dell also said today that it will begin using Skyway Freight Systems to manage its inbound inventory. Skyway's Concerto Services is a Web-based system that enables viewing inventory availability data online, a service similar to Dell's own Premier Page program.