Gateway To Move All Sales Through Channel

In another blow to the direct-sales model, Gateway has decided to move all its sales through channel partners. The company, now a subsidiary of Acer, built its reputation on telephone and Internet marketing. However, now it will rely completely on retailers, e-tailers and other channel partners.

In a statement, Gateway said it was making the switch because it would be more efficient, easier and cost-effective for customers. In doing so, Gateway is aligning itself more closely with the sales strategy of parent company Acer, which has heavily favored the channel. Mark Hill, Acer Group U.S.general manager, noted in the official release that by completely abandoning direct sales "our commitment to the channel is unparalleled in the industry." That could be a slap at rival Dell, which is trying (unsuccessfully) to avoide channel conflict while selling both direct and through the channel.

What's interesting about this isn't so much that Gateway is falling in behind Acer. It's that Acer, now in third place in worldwide PC sales, views channel partners as the key to its future growth and market-share gains against competitors Dell and HP. When it bought Gateway, Acer inherited a robust direct sales model and could have opted to preserve or even expand it. But like rival Dell did last year, Acer realizes that the channel holds the key to future growth. The difference is, Acer now has a pure channel strategy which clearly differentiates it from Dell.

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