While Gateway this week prepares to launch a new direct sales plan, company officials are denying that the introduction of the PC vendor's YourWare retail sales program would adversely affect Gateway's existing relationship with its mysterious reseller partners.
"YourWare is aimed clearly at the heart of consumerland, whereas our Gateway Partners program will be especially designed to reach the SME sector," said Michelle Vanzella, business development and marketing manager, gateway Australia and New Zealand.
The YourWare program, which is already up and running in the US, enables retail customers to acquire a new Gateway PC and Internet bundle with personal finance arrangements that allow for a trade-in after two years.
"Gateway is a direct sales organisation, but we are committed to the target of one third of our business in Australia coming through the channel via our Gateway Partners program by the end of 1999," Vanzella said.
As evidence of its commitment, Gateway last week launched a new page on its Web site http://www.gw2k.com.audedicated to the partners program. Vanzella reported that they signed up a new partner within four hours of the Web page going live, and they are sending out 100 information packs a week to prospects.
According to Vanzella, the partners program represents part of the Gateway strategy allowing those involved to provide value-added services to customers whose requirements would otherwise not be met by the direct model.