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The Call of the Mall

Dell said today in a conference call that it is planning a significant expansion of its retail sales kiosks. By the end of the year, the company plans to open 20 more kiosks–bringing the total to 85–to give consumers a chance to check out the company’s array of consumer electronics devices. New printers and digital music players, along with the company’s first plasma TVs, are planned for release by the holiday season.

The move makes a lot of sense for the direct-to-consumer king. It shows a clear commitment to its growing consumer electronics line, and a recognition that sometimes, high-tech/high-touch means exactly what it says. After all, would you buy an expensive plasma-screen TV sight unseen? The interesting question is how Dell, long regarded for its customer service, will use the increased retail presence–and the direct-but-different interactions it will provide–to get to know its customers even better.

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