GE Medical Systems is taking e-commerce to the max, peddling $2 million magnetic resonance imaging systems on its World Wide Web site for medical equipment. Is the company dreaming, you ask? Far from it.
The Waukesha, Wis.-based company has sold 17 of the leading-edge MR systems since they became available on the Web site last November, says Raymond Kelley, GE Medical's "e-strategist" for the MR product line. And the selling got off to a brisk start: GE sold two Signa OpenSpeed systems within two hours of making available the MR package (base model plus pre-selected software and accessories) at $2 million a pop, Kelley says. In all, four package deals were cut that first day, in November.
Customers need not fork over their credit-card number. Prospective purchasers register online (at gemedicalsystems.com) and submit to a check of a database to confirm they are associated with a provider organization. Legally the company can't sell such a machine to any buyer that lacks the specialized personnel to operate it, Kelley says.
Once approved, a log-in and password combination is sent by e-mail, allowing the registrant to browse through the electronic catalog and examine data sheets for terms and conditions, required down payments and details of purchase orders. Electronic signatures will be added soon.
For now, package deals are online for three MR models, though an expansion later this month will allow customers to pick and choose a la carte among nine to 11 base models plus the array of options. Other imaging systems, such as computed tomography, X-ray and ultrasound scanners, will go online, too. Happy browsing.