Ihug readies "drive through" PC store

Ihug will open a 'drive-through' personal computer store in Auckland next week. The launch will be backed by a TV advertising campaign.

Internet service provider Ihug will open a "drive-through" personal computer store in Auckland next week.

Ihug director Tim Wood says the store — to be based in Auckland's upper Queen Street area on Dacre Street — will open on October 20 and a television campaign will be launched around the same time.

While the store will not be like a drive-through food purchasing set-up, the concept is to offer customers "a one-stop shop" and is designed to service customers very quickly with "easy purchase" processing.

"You can get your Internet, PC, peripherals and advice all at one time. If required, we can set everything up for you," says Wood.

"Basically its about our company demystifying the PC. Ihug is trying to get the message across that the Internet is not complicated — we want the same feeling to come across to people who are not only first-time Internet users but first-time PC buyers as well. They often require assistance and assurance."

The main difference between the Ihug store and a normal reseller is "the benefit of having Ihug as an Internet service provider and our help desk doesn't only service the Internet but people who are having other problems".

Wood says people are "crying out for that ground level assistance", and says where there is a focus on the Internet a specific service is needed.

Ihug also has plans to enable customers to build a PC online. "You can log on to the Ihug computer store Web site and put your PC together. Then a rep will call back to confirm the order. The whole process could probably be done in a day," says Wood.

Once the PC has been "made", specs will be emailed to a consultant who will contact the customer to confirm the order. This service should be ready by January.

Wood says traffic on Ihug's Web site is increasing as the company has "gone from selling one PC every three days, to three PCs a day and [the number] is rising". He says Ihug is selling about 650 PCs a month at present on its $899 Internet/PC deal.

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