Covad and CompUSA have announced a deal to offer Covad's broadband in 168 stores nationwide. CompUSA and Covad have created what they are claiming is "a total technology solution for the very small business market". According to Covad, small business specialists will be present in each store to help the customer find the best solution for their needs. Covad will be powering a Digital Services demonstration kiosk in each CompUSA store that will allow the customer to experience the service before purchasing.
Covad will be offering an array of broadband choices from shared line DSL to a T1 connection. With this deal, Covad opens a new sales channel (retail), and combines its expertise in the small business market with that of CompUSA. It isn't totally clear from this news release, but it appears they will offer Covad's VoIP business offering. I'm not convinced IT guys/gals will walk into a retail store and buy their SMB VoIP phone system. Maybe a small business owner who has no IT staff might buy a VoIP phone system at retail, in which case I could be wrong. Somebody should do a research study on the success (or failure) of residential VoIP offerings (Packet8, Vonage, etc.) sold at several retail outlets. The research statistics may give a picture of the potential for VoIP business offerings sold at retail.
Here's the actual news release discussing this.
CompUSA and Covad Sign Deal to Offer Business-Class Broadband in 168 Stores Nationwide
Dallas TX and San Jose, CA - Jan. 25, 2006 - Covad Communications Group, Inc. (AMEX: DVW) and CompUSA, Inc. announced an agreement today to offer Covad's business-class broadband services in 168 CompUSA stores nationwide.
"With this deal, CompUSA is strengthening its commitment to being the one-stop technology shop for small businesses," Larry Mondry, president and CEO of CompUSA. "Total package offerings in a retail setting are a real need for the small business market. According to TechInsights, a survey by CompUSA, 76 percent of small business owners buying technology want service, support, and broad product offerings all from the same retailer."
"We are excited by the opportunity to offer Covad's small business broadband products through CompUSA, one of the nation's most recognizable and trusted business brands for technology solutions," said Charles Hoffman, Covad president and CEO. "Placement of Covad's business-class broadband services in selected business-focused retail locations represents an important addition to Covad's distribution channel strategy. Partnering with CompUSA will extend our reach into the key small business market."
CompUSA will be offering a full range of Covad broadband access services, from shared-line DSL suitable for a small or home office all the way up to full T-1 connections. CompUSA has chosen Covad's broadband service to power its Digital Services demonstration kiosk in all 168 supported store locations, powering a variety of voice and data products. In 112 of the Covad-supported stores, CompUSA has established dedicated business services sales areas staffed with a business-focused sales force that will help customers ascertain their needs and make Covad a part of a total office technology solution. Covad's business-class broadband services will also be available for purchase through the Digital Services section of CompUSA's on-line venues: www.compusa.com and www.compusabusiness.com.
CompUSA will begin offering Covad services in mid-February. A 10-market road show introducing CompUSA's entire line of broadband data and voice products will help familiarize CompUSA associates with Covad's business-class broadband services. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.