Samsung Electronics is redefining its channel strategy by putting all its products under one umbrella as it takes advantage of the convergence of technologies.
The vendor believes that the various markets for its technical equipment are coming together and dealers want to be able to sell more than just its PCs and monitors.
Ali Demin, marketing director at Samsung UK, said: ?Technologies are converging. We are seeing more and more digital products but a lot of these products are shared between different channels.?
He added that making the products available via a single division would make dealers? lives easier.
Demin insisted that the company?s approach makes better commercial sense. ?Previously, consumer has had its own channel, its own advertising and its own PR,? he said. ?The telecoms division has its own PR, its own dealers and advertising; computer peripherals have the same.?
Therefore, dealers will have one point of call and the company can put out one message to the industry. ?It was quite difficult for us to put all these divisions into one, to make one marketing department out of three marketing departments, one sales department out of three sales departments, and there is sales support and distribution as well,? he said.
As part of the launch, Samsung is kicking off a dealer programme called Premier Partnership, taking 100 of its dealers to Barcelona in an attempt to convince them that they want to sell a broader range of Samsung products, such as fax machines, digital TVs, DVD units and digital cameras.
?I think dealers can at least sell a digital television or telephone or fax,? Demin said. ?Why not? The technologies are getting closer together and I think if a dealer has an outlet the cost will be high, and people are looking at increasing their turnover and increasing their profits.?
Demin said Samsung is pioneering this move and trying to educate the market to understand that with more choice there is more chance of profit. How does he see the change happening? ?It is a step process. Every process starts with doubt, then people get familiar with the new idea and then they get to know it and then it becomes habit. The habit doesn?t come automatically, but comes with a new idea and new technology.?
Samsung?s reinvention has had its price: in the past six months several of its senior managers have left the company. This has raised a couple of questions: first, whether the environment within Samsung is happy enough to sustain the quality of staff it needs to make the idea work, and second, whether the loss of staff will affect customer service.
At about the same time as the changes at Samsung began, German company Maxdata started up in the UK and quite quickly became a thorn in the side of Samsung?s monitor division. John Adams, Maxdata?s UK managing director, is ex-Samsung himself, as are a growing number of his staff.
Adams has criticised Samsung?s strategy. ?Samsung seems to have moved its focus from a very divisionalised sales force, which included PCs, fax, consumer and telecoms, and diluted it,? he said.
The lack of focus is going to damage the company?s ability to support its current customers, Adams said. ?If you sell monitors and your contact at Samsung is from a fax machine background it is unlikely he or she will be a monitor specialist.?
Julian Martin, managing director of Blue Chip, a Samsung dealer, said: ?We will be looking to expand our product range with it,? adding that Samsung is not the only manufacturer which is going down this route.
Blue Chip already sells different devices from Samsung and Martin saw the approach as an improvement on the way he works now. ?The old system hasn?t been so easy for us because we?ve had to go through a couple of dealer channels at Samsung to get our kit. We get good service from the PC and monitor side but we have to go to another channel to get anything else.?
Demin was adamant that with the introduction of the reseller partner programme, the vendor will have the support of more than 20 per cent of its existing channel partners, but he was convinced that more resellers will eventually supply all of Samsung?s products.
Contingency plans follow Carillion's demise earlier this year
Oliver Tuszik says partners can boost subscription sales by taking a customer experience-led approach
Firm says enterprise business has performed 'weaker than originally expected'
Top executives from nine VARs, including Computacenter, Bell Integration, XMA, ANS and Epaton, weigh in on which server, storage and networking technologies will be red hot next year