By James Wells

SYDNEY: JB Hi-Fi has announced it will enter the computer category with a discount positioning and trained sales staff who will use personal digital assistants (PDAs) to record sales and offer product information.
By entering this category, JB Hi-Fi will take on market leader, Harvey Norman, which represents up to a third of sales in the $1.5 billion personal computer market.

According to JB Hi-Fi CEO, Richard Uechtritz, the computers market is growing at 20 per cent per year and should continue to grow for a number of years.

He also said that the computer category, which is linking more to other categories including television, portable audio, digital cameras and media, is appealing to the JB Hi-Fi’s young and tech savvy customer base.

As part of the rollout, JB Hi-Fi will replace its paper-based sales books with a wireless handheld PDA-based sales order system to improve efficiency and allow faster processing of transactions.

The system, which was developed internally, will also improve inventory management, assist with up-sells and add-ons and provide sales people with statistics at their fingertips.

Regional managers will also use the PDA system to record total store information when entering a JB Hi-Fi store.

Information accessed by regional managers will include store sales and gross profit by department, sales by floor staff and statistics, alerts such as sales below cost or low statistics as well as stock issues, over stocks, deleted or quit stock levels.