Samsung is reducing the number of direct customer relationships it has for the second time this year, rerouting 25 major LCD monitor accounts, worth in excess of $1 million, through its eight national distributors.
Earlier this year, Samsung pared its distribution partners from 87 to eight in its print solutions group, which boosted its reseller numbers from 35 to around 1,600. The upshot has been a doubling of year-on-year revenues.
In recognition of the fact that it is "a latecomer to the printing game and well back in the pack", Samsung is developing strategies to rectify the situation. These include the release of a "killer range of multifunction devices" in the New Year and plans to undercut Minolta QMS in the sub-$2,000 colour laser segment.
In its monitors division, Samsung is "going to focus on bringing the business in" through a sales generation team. The vendor met with IBM last week to discuss the possibility of bundling Samsung's high-end flat panel LCDs with IBM CPUs, taking full advantage of the growing trend in open-box tenders. Samsung said more customers are asking vendors, or tender applicants, to separate the cost of monitors, keyboards/mice, servers and CPUs, rather than providing a wholesale bundle price.
IBM has indicated that its preferred model for this is to source through a distributor because it has certain rebate levels it wants to achieve for its own benefit.
"We've got Dell to thank for this because they've been incredibly aggressive in the corporate arena and other vendors are looking for ways to obtain an edge," said Norman Krieke, national sales and marketing manager for Samsung Electronics' IT division.
On November 1, Samsung launched a reseller Web site to streamline the information-gathering and order process. The site provides product information, sales tools such as price and performance comparisons, online ordering and credit approval, and the ability to track deliveries and check stock levels.