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Cisco to trial direct online sales

Australia the 'vanguard', perhaps with new smallbiz products to make it sensible

By Simon Sharwood

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Cisco's going to have a crack at direct sales online.

Cisco's veep for Australia and New Zealand yesterday told the Cisco Live! event in Melbourne that it's currently possible to buy his company's kit online from the company, but that finding out how to do it is not easy.

Cisco's online direct sales presence is obscure because it's sells mostly through channel middlemen. But Boal said some customers, especially smaller outfits, want to buy from Cisco online. The company will therefore soon meet their desires.

The effort will start small: Boal said Australia will be "the vanguard" of the online experiment. He also hinted at new products tailored to small business and micro-business, and organisations of those sizes as the store's targets.

Boal also suggested the store would be run in such a way that reselling partners don't see it as a threat.

Cisco's long been an e-commerce titan: in about 1997 your correspondent wrote that the company had cracked the billion-a-year barrier with an online configuration tool that let customers order routers just the way they wanted them.

Boal said the company's e-commerce efforts have since largely been directed at partners.

Cisco transcacts north of 90 per cent of its global revenues via channel firms, so many won't be happy about a direct sales push.

There's no word on when the store will debut or reach beyond Australia, but Boal mentioned its development in the context of his priorities for 2018. ®

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