The pilot program will be tested this month at 15 stores, Wal-Mart said, adding that there were no plans at this time to expand the service outside of the Dallas area. "For Wal-Mart, the program provides an opportunity for us to understand more about what our customers need and expect in home installation and technology services, within a specific market," the company said in a statement.
The "Solution Stations" run by Dell will offer computer repair and installation of high-definition TVs, home theaters, and wireless computer networks. Pricing will vary according to the job. For example, installing memory in a PC in the store would cost $29, while installing memory in a home would cost $99, the Dallas Morning News reported. For installing a wall-mounted TV, connecting cables, and integrating three video components, Dell would charge $289.
In testing the service, Wal-Mart is apparently investigating whether to compete with other retailers offering similar services, such as Best Buy's Geek Squad.
Dell started selling its notebooks and desktops in Wal-Mart about a year ago. Since then, the computer maker has made its products available in Costco and Best Buy. Dell currently sells its products through 13,000 stores worldwide through a dozen retailers. The computer maker, however, still generates most of its revenue through direct online sales.
Dell is in the second half of a restructuring that started after the company lost market share to Hewlett-Packard, which surpassed Dell to become the world's largest computer maker. As part of the changes, Dell has improved its customer service and expanded its portfolio of support services for businesses.