Ingram pumps up web

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Broad-based distributor Ingram Micro plans to do at least 15 percent of its total sales over the web by December this year, following the official launch of a refreshed e-commerce operation this week.

Broad-based distributor Ingram Micro plans to do at least 15 percent of its total sales over the web by December this year, following the official launch of a refreshed e-commerce operation this week.

Its new online business had been in a 'test' phase since October 2003 and had, so far, seen big month by month increases in online sales since then.

Last month, $2.7 million worth of reseller sales were tendered online –- around 7.1 percent of the distributor's total sales for the month, said Cristian Contreras, e-commerce business manager at Ingram Micro.

In contrast, only 2.28 percent of total sales were fed through the old e-commerce system in May 2003, he said.

Some Ingram subsidiaries in Europe were doing around 50 percent of their sales online, Contreras said.

The company's web facilities let resellers place orders, view statements, search for product pricing and availability and track the status of order shipments online. Customised pricing for individual resellers was also available.

The distributor had back end EDI links with suppliers Maxtor, Seagate and IBM in place, said Contreras. Back end links with its other suppliers were not in place yet, he said.

The distributor was hoping to coerce its 2000 'cash before delivery' (CBD) customers to use the system, he said.

Having customers buy online would reduce the higher cost associated with running the distributor's call centre, he added.

'Resellers have been quick to use our improved web facilities, enjoying the ability to independently access fast and reliable information in realtime, no longer having to wait in telephone queues or for call backs,' he said.

Ingram also planned to launch marketing initiatives to drive online sales. A user guide had been created to educate resellers on how to use the site, the company said.

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