MicroLink focuses on business clients

  • 2001-06-07
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - MicroLink Astrodata (OK Arvutid), the computer sales and servicing subsidiary of MicroLink, will focus on business clients and transfer all sales to the Internet- and direct-sales channels, the company announced on June 1.

The company will close its computer stores in Tallinn, Tartu and Riga in June.

"We made the decision after analyzing the experience of such successful international companies as Dell and Intel whose sales are carried out exclusively via the Internet, phone and fax," said Aivar Paalberg, chairman of MicroLink Astrodata.

"We can state with certainty that in the computer world, the traditional over-the-counter commerce is an expensive and ineffective luxury that has to be paid out of the consumer's pocket," he added.

Less than 15 percent of MicroLink Astrodata's turnover of 3 million euros ($2.65 million) in the first five months of 2001 was from traditional retail sales, while the majority of orders were submitted by direct contact with sales representatives or over the Internet.

MicroLink's Web shops have experienced increased turnover rates, with 290,000 euros in sales in turnover per month. MicroLink Group employs about 740 people and posted total sales of 5.4 million euros in April, with 2.3 million euros coming from the business sales division.

MicroLink Arvutid, the Estonian PC assembly company, generated 36 percent of its sales through Web-based transactions.

"Retail sale is a relatively expensive operation. MicroLink is cutting retail expenses to focus on business clients, which have always been its key target," said Sulev Sisask, from Estonia's second-largest computer manufacturer and MicroLink competitor Ordi.

Ordi Computers also plans to start offering Web-based shopping this summer.

Jaan Oruaas, president of the Estonian IT society, which coordinates local computer producers' and sellers' work, said MicroLink's revenues from retail sales were not significant enough to continue.

"Hardware retail-sales revenues have been decreasing worldwide in the recent years, and that is why Dell brought its retail services to the net," he said.

He added that MicroLink PCs will not disappear from sight as retail dealers will continue selling them.