Philips to Web-enable its reseller network

In a move to boost online sales, Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV is helping its network of about 60,000 resellers worldwide to get online.

The Dutch electronics giant is opting not to sell its products directly via the Web to consumers, but to help its resellers do so. The company picked software from iMediation as the tool for collaborative selling, iMediation announced Wednesday.

In a statement iMediation said its iChannel platform will allow Philips to collaborate with its suppliers, resellers and distribution partners in developing and presenting targeted offerings to online customers. The end result will be co-branded Web sites selling items from Philips' consumer electronics division. This includes PC components like CD-ROM drives and home appliances like stereos and coffee-makers, Pieter Schaffels, a spokesman for Philips, said Thursday.

Philips has successfully completed pilot projects in Spain and Sweden. Based on the pilot results, Philips plans to roll out iChannel worldwide before the end of the year. Implementation of the software will cost the company about $US8 million, Schaffels said.

"We want to e-enable our resellers and dealers. Instead of bypassing our distributor network to sell over the Web, we work together to reach the end customer," said Ruud van Vessem, responsible for Philips' European electronic business, in the statement.

The software allows resellers to create an online store or enhance their current online venture. Philips will even offer to build sites. "For many small and medium-sized retail outlets in our distributor network this is a very attractive proposition," said Van Vessem. Philips said it expects the cost of doing business to decline.

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