Being Direct

In response to "As Easy as One, Two, Three?" (page 18, March 2000): 1. Online computer sellers sell at manufacturer's prices, which are typically at a discount compared to Akihabara's. 2. Dell drives 35% to 40% of its revenue over the Web in Japan (more than double what Gateway did last year). 3. Gateway drove $100 million per year in Web-based sales in Japan. 4. The Web contains quite a bit of objective information that can bring a customer to a purchase decision. In Akihabara, you rely on a salesperson whose intentions might solely be driven by commission.

The writer's experience with the Dell store is unfortunate. We think it appropriate to underline for readers the time lag between her writing of the story and printing. Everyone knows how fast things change on the Web, and her experience may have coincided with the number of upgrades and enhancements Dell Japan has been adding over the past three months, such as a database-driven store that delivers accurate product and pricing information across the site or by our implementation of a Japan-specific Relationship store. We ask that Japan Inc come back for another visit.

Kevin Baker