New incarnation for software seller

World of Software, a four-year-old Toronto software retailer, has closed its doors and reopened as Sidea, a software retailer-cum-software exhibitor.Sidea is an acronym that stands for software, information, demonstration, evaluation and assistance.First of chainThe 5,750-square-foot outlet, the first of a planned...

World of Software, a four-year-old Toronto software retailer, has closed its doors and reopened as Sidea, a software retailer-cum-software exhibitor.

Sidea is an acronym that stands for software, information, demonstration, evaluation and assistance.

First of chain

The 5,750-square-foot outlet, the first of a planned chain of stores that will range in size up to 12,000 sq. ft., houses about 65 personal computers loaded with about 1,000 software programs.

Consumers are invited to browse through the store, which opened Nov. 9, and test the programs with the assistance of trained staff members.

Ron McNabb, Sidea’s vice-president of sales and marketing, explains the store is laid out as if it were a software exhibition or trade show.

Software

The software products of the different manufacturers are loaded in specific pcs. Signage indicates in which machines the various programs can be found.

Some of the larger software makers enjoy exclusive use of one or more pcs, while the smaller companies share pcs with other manufacturers.

McNabb says Sidea worked closely with the software industry in designing a store concept that facilitates on-premises product trial.

A common complaint about traditional software retailers is that they discourage product trial, preferring that the consumer take the product home and try it there.

Computer and software consultants rent exhibit space within the store.

According to McNabb, Sidea is, for now, covering the overhead cost of running the various programs, but he says that over time the company plans to begin charging software manufacturers an exhibition fee based on the number of computers they require and the amount of floor space occupied by their exhibit. PA