German manufacturer Siemens Nixdorf has become the latest vendor to dealer-free transactions. jump on the internet bandwagon as it prepares to sell PCs and eventually other products over the internet, throwing its channel into doubt.
The move comes four months after the vendor restructured into two business concerns - products and services. At the time, Siemens' actions caused concern among corporate Vars, unsure of its decision to carry out systems integration and network installation as part of its strategy to add value to selling boxes.
Siemens refused to disclose when internet-based sales would commence in the UK, but said PCs would be the first products in the pipeline.
It has already developed a virtual reality-based sales system for car manufacturer Mercedes Benz to run over the internet, which cuts dealers out of the chain, and has been inspired to sell its own products over the Web in a similar way.
Klaus Hommer, vice president and general manager of advanced services and media at Siemens, admitted that this would cause channel conflict.
'Yes, the dealer won't like it, and there is potential channel conflict that we must address,' he said.
Rudi Lamprecht, a member of Siemens' managing board, insisted there would be no conflict with the channel, as the vendor had little market share in the UK. 'Because we have only two per cent of the market, there is no conflict. We can work with potentially every dealer in the UK as we go after the other 98 per cent,' he stated.
Lamprecht continued: 'The added value provided by resellers in the past will not be sufficient in the future. For example, the ordering element.'
He justified Siemens' decision, adding that: 'The technology must find access to both the user and the channel partner community. And dealers need to make sure that they add value in order to justify their existence.'
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