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Retailing Concept Hoped to Offer 'More Bang for the Buck' : PacTel to Try Selling Computers and Phones Together

March 19, 1985|From United Press International

SAN FRANCISCO — A subsidiary of Pacific Telesis Group sees a business opportunity in putting computer and telephone systems together on the retail shelf and is preparing to open the first of up to nine retail outlets planned for 1985 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Global Potential

The idea of selling telephone and computer products to small- and medium-size business customers could expand to other states if the sales strategy of Pac Tel Infosystems President Will Luden works out.

"Our reach in telemarketing is global if we want to use it," Luden said.

For now, however, the company is focusing on making the concept work in Northern California. The first store is scheduled to open in May in San Mateo.

"There are a great number of businesses today that are unsure about where and how to purchase telephone systems and microcomputers," said Luden. "The problem is compounded when a business faces the need to integrate the voice, data and communications functions."

Luden said present sales techniques for those products are ineffective because they promise a buyer too much and deliver too little.

"We want to provide one-stop shopping service for business customers looking for voice telecommunications and microcomputers," Luden said. "That is based on the strong belief that the products are beginning to and soon will be integrated."

Telemarketing, of course, is a part of the strategy, along with an outside sales force that will support the retail stores. The key, however, may be dividing sales and service into separate revenue areas.

'More Bang for the Buck'

"We need to show the concept works," Luden said. "We need to show the concept gives more bang for the buck."

The retail stores will make extensive use of reader boards giving short descriptions of the functions of each product and its specific business applications.

The next step in the sales cycle is an in-store software kiosk, where customers can see sample programs and learn about their uses.

Finally, customers will be shown examples of complete systems set up in a typical office setting.

"The third step is to sit the customer down in a life-style area reminiscent of where they work," Luden explained. "It looks very much like the system they'd be using."

Service contracts will be offered for a separate fee and customers will also be able to take advantage of a "hot line" telephone number that they can call to get help from trouble-shooting specialists.

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