Linksys refreshes channel strategy for consumer push

Linksys refreshes channel strategy for consumer push

Cisco subsidiary is reviewing distributors and will launch new channel incentives to drive consumer market sales

Linksys is focusing on the consumer market

Linksys is focusing on the consumer market

Linksys is reviewing its distribution line-up and planning new channel incentives as part of a global strategy to shift focus onto the consumer market.

Linksys vice-president of Asia-Pacific, Craig Gledhill, who was in Sydney last week to help launch the vendor’s first Dual-N band WRT610N wireless router, said it was now increasing resources to ramp up its go-to market strategy in the consumer space. In August, Cisco merged Linksys’ SMB program and partners into its own channel program.

“The reason we acquired Linksys was to grow into the consumer market and that was John Chamber’s [Cisco CEO] vision,” Gledhill said. “When we got Linksys we had three divisions – consumer, small business and service provider. Last year we decided that for us to be really successful in consumer, we have to be laser focused.”

Gledhill said top of the list was improving its relationships with mass retailers and building stronger ties with consumer-oriented resellers and e-tailers.

“We have to get our channel aligned and our go-to market aligned on that segment of the market,” he said. “Because of this focus, we are dissecting our routes to market in consumer and one area we have to put more focus on is the online players.”

A review of its regional distributors was also taking place to ensure the vendor was reaching the consumer market effectively, Gledhill said.

“Country by country, we are analysing the right distributors for us to go into this market and frankly some aren’t,” he said. “We are now going through a refresh and making sure we have the right distribution model in place. Here in Australia we are making those decisions as well.”

Linksys regional manager, Graeme Reardon, said the company had increased its Australian headcount by 200 per cent and now had 20 staff dedicated to lifting its consumer market performance in retail.

“We’re making sure that the relationships are being built, particularly with the franchises like Harvey Norman and Leading Edge, which need to be developed store by store,” he said. “We need people in every state – it’s all about coverage.”

New partner initiatives and incentives will also be introduced in the coming months to entice more organisations to work with Linksys, Gledhill said.

Linksys’ consumer push is centred around the connected home concept and includes routers, IP cameras, print servers and power devices.

The longer term vision was to bring in more multimedia and applications, Gledhill said, on an enhanced wireless platform for the home.

“We want to create an ecosystem that not only opens up this market to Cisco but to all CE companies that want to have connectivity in the home,” he said.

While Linksys holds the leading consumer networking vendor position in the US and several countries across Asia-Pacific, it sits at number five locally. Gledhill was confident it could become number one or two in the next 12-24 months. He also claimed the vendor often thrived in a down market and added the push towards working from home was also opening opportunities.

“Being number five doesn’t ring very well at Cisco. Our mandate is if we cannot be number one or two in a market, we shouldn't be in that market,” he said.

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