Wednesday, 03 August 2011 11:42

HP's promised mass distribution of TouchPad needs acceleration

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With HP's TouchPad due to arrive exclusively in Harvey Norman stores from August 15, HP's promised mass distribution through all stores that sell HP gear needs acceleration.

Nick Broughall writing for Australian Reseller News (ARN) has pointed out in an article that HP's TouchPad and webOS needs mass distribution, stating that the Harvey Norman distribution deal really isn't enough to guarantee HP's success.

Of course, the TouchPad isn't officially on sale here yet until August 15, and HP did need to start distribution with someone.

Harvey Norman isn't a bad partner, indeed, they've got stores across Australia, but Harvey Norman isn't, as Mr Broughall noted, the place where the tech-savviest among us are normally shopping for tech.

That said, I do remember HP stating at last week's TouchPad 'pre-launch' that the idea was to sell the TouchPad through all the stores that HP gear is normally sold, which is many more stores than Harvey Norman can boast.

The question is the length of time it will take for that to happen, with stores like JB Hi-Fi, other department stores and your regular 'yum cha' computer store needing to have the TouchPad on sale to the TouchPad in front of as many consumers as possible.

Hopefully Harvey Norman has something exciting planned for its exclusive sales period to drum up as much consumer excitement as possible, otherwise its exclusivity will have been for naught, and HP might as well have fought harder to get wider distribution from day one.

I also wonder when competing tablet makers will conduct some kind of on-the-ground campaign in foot-traffic heavy areas of capital-city CBDs to let people see, touch, feel and play with the TouchPad and urge them into stores.

Sure, such on-the-ground marketing campaigns would be expensive enterprises to run, but at least it is very proactive marketing that ensures people are out there, seeing and playing with the TouchPad, rather than waiting for them to go into a Harvey Norman store to be helped by someone who likely isn't anywhere as well trained as an Apple Store employee.

I'd even have some kind of competition where the people playing with TouchPads in the street are able to enter their details on screen to 'win' an HP TouchPad for themselves, with the 'prize draw' happening at local Harvey Norman stores in different parts of Australia.

However, I'm a journalist and not a marketing person, so who knows, maybe these relatively simple ideas are worthless.

I'd give them a shot, however, and HP can certainly afford to conduct such marketing campaigns.

Still, the TouchPad isn't officially on sale yet, and my own very short-term review model has only just arrived this morning pre the official launch in a couple of weeks, but once it arrives, I sure hope that HP has some 'High Performance' marketing planned to make sure the TouchPad's launch is as touching as possible.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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