Dell's success in direct selling is forcing IT vendors to rethink their own sales strategy.
Last week, Packard Bell NEC and Sony in the US announced they will be selling direct, as Hewlett-Packard outlined a restructuring which observers have interpreted as a move towards direct selling.
Beny Alagem, chairman and CEO of Packard Bell NEC, acknowledged that Dell's success had forced him to consider a move towards direct sales.
He said his company's new system, dubbed NEC Now and available worldwide, will focus primarily on small and medium-sized businesses, giving them the option of purchasing NEC products directly.
Sony, which entered the PC market in the US one year ago, is planning to enter the direct channel later this year. The service, however, will only be available to US users.
The changes at HP are aimed at integrating the company's PC assembly business more closely with distributors. "Dell is doing so well it is forcing us to change the way we work," acknowledged Jos Brenkel, European marketing director for PCs and servers at HP. Under the scheme, customers will be able to access HP's resellers from the supplier's web site. However, HP denied the change meant it was going direct.
Last week Dell CEO, Michael Dell, said the company now generates revenues of $2 million (#1.25 million) a day selling PCs on the Internet.
Given Dell's success, it's not surprising that PC vendors want a piece of the direct sales action. But the transition isn't that easy. Compaq knows only too well how difficult it is maintaining the status quo with your dealer channel, while moving towards a direct model.
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