Specialist IBM distributor ITG has joined the crowded ranks of distributors with an online presence with the launch of its reseller Web site.
The site, located at www.itg.com.au, offers information on stock availability, product specifications and pricing, updated hourly.
Once a user registers with the site it remembers their identity, so when they log on again the system automatically generates appropriate buy breaks and order records. The reseller can also use the site to contact their own specific sales rep.
ITG's IT manager, Steve Morris, hopes that by being able to provide this information on the site the distributor can reduce the number of telephone calls it receives. He says this will give the ITG's reps more time to be proactive. "Most calls are about pricing, specifications and back orders. So if they can get that online, it cuts down the call rates, and lets us do more. Because our reps are very proactive reps - they're not order takers - they're out there trying to help the resellers put the deal together."
Resellers also have the benefit of being able to place orders after hours.
According to national sales manager Braham Shnider the aim of the site is to deliver greater customer service and bring down the transaction costs of both his company and its reseller partners. "I believe it has the ability to bring down our transaction costs to about 20 per cent of what they are today," said Shnider.
He describes the move to online publishing of information as a business necessity, especially when dealing with volume products. "You have to be able to transact in this way if you wish to be successful longer term in this market. Because if you don't your transaction costs will be so great that you can't compete with those that deliver it in this way."
Morris said ITG is now working with IBM's software division to integrate a full electronic commerce solution into the site, allowing proper online ordering of parts along with secure payment. He says this was not a priority in getting the site up, but expects such services to be implemented in the next few months.