Hewlett-Packard has launched an online store in New Zealand where punters can buy direct and in future will be able to link to reseller Web sites to buy from a dealer.
Managing director of HP New Zealand Barry Hastings, says HP Online is aimed at the small office/home office (SOHO) market and home users.
He stresses the online store doesn’t pose a threat to the company’s 3000-plus resellers as only stand alone products will be sold on the HP Web site.
Until now HP has sold all its printers, scanners and PCs through its resellers (with the exception of high-end Unix hardware).
“Not everyone is going to want to buy through the online store. If they need third-party products (such as software) or integration, they will still go through a reseller,” he says.
Prices on the Web site are also non-negotiable. However, the Web site will contain product information that people might want to read before they go to a dealer.
“There is no other way we could get this much information to customers short of printing full catalogues and putting them in every mailbox,” says Hastings. “Through this Web site we are offering a new channel choice.”
In the future HP Online will add links to reseller Web sites and in August a reseller locator function to help customers find their nearest HP dealer.
The HP Online Store is part of a worldwide initiative which started in the US 18 months ago and has been in Australia for one year. In both countries the revenue going through online sales is 1%, says HP marketing manager Joanna Burgess.
Burgess sees the site as a strategic move rather than an immediate generator of sales. Customer information that will be gleaned (with customer permission) from the online store will be especially valuable.
Until now the only access the company had to such demographics was through customers sending in registration cards which proved to be expensive and unmanageable.
The Web site is divided into two parts - hp@work and hp@home with pictures of the products, specifications and PDFs of the product brochure.
Products will be built and sent from Sydney and should take three days for printers, scanners and smaller products, and 10 days for PCs.