Dealers are growing in importance in the eyes of corporate UK buyers despite the rise in direct PC sales.
According to the latest 'IT Barometer Report' commissioned by PC maker AST from Banner Research, the significance of dealer relationships to corporates is notably greater than last year, despite the threat to the channel from direct vendors such as Dell.
The report interviewed 226 IT professionals responsible for desktop systems in British and Irish companies with over 200 employees. Richard Bind, Banner?s research executive, commented that the change in perception of the dealer relationship had shifted more than other factors.
?The report looks at the way people are perceiving issues this year as opposed to last year, and the change in the relationships with the dealer is quite large compared to the other changes. So if the trend were to continue over the next two years, the relationships with dealers would overtake some of the other factors (in a buying decision).
However, IDC IT analyst Terry Earnest Jones maintained, ?The general shift is most definitely toward direct buying. Among some of the largest vendors there is a movement toward having the channel assemble PCs themselves, but the general thrust is towards Dell in particular for corporates.?
But Martin Clarke, sales and marketing director for UK dealer Lapland UK, asserted: ?Direct manufacturers can never compete with resellers. Resellers are independent and when problems occur with multivendor systems, they will not fob you off onto another company. Even without support contracts, a dealer is obliged to provide support."
The report also found that Internet usage was increasing at a steady rate with 67 per cent of firms now using it regularly. According to Bind this is due to ?less fear of security and time wasting issues. Confidence is growing and people are less worried about misuse."
Jones agreed, adding: ?There is no doubt that the case for selling on the Internet is growing. There are many benefits for the seller, it?s an easy way to take orders. And in the end if prices come down it makes it easier for the buyer too. It takes the hassle out of shopping, because for businesses it is convenient and widespread and cheap to manage.?
According to Clarke: ?There is one key factor missing from the Internet and that is human contact. For someone who has a salesman phobia, then they might be driven onto the Internet. But you have no questioning or bargaining power which comes with the human element. If you don?t like the salesman, you don?t buy from him, it?s that simple. But you can?t make that decision on a Web site.?
AST was unavailable for comment.
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