Samsung Mobile is ramping up its drive into direct distribution with plans to recruit indirect sales executives, raising further fears that it will exit out of the indirect mobile distribution channels.
The new sales team will be tasked with working closely with key retailers including Tesco, Shop Direct, Argos and Dixons retail. The company is on the hunt for four new account managers and a number of indirect sales staff who will work with these retailers, preparing them for a move into direct supply of its smartphones, said sources.
Samsung already has direct distribution deals with Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4u and operators.
Sources said the manufacturer believes direct distribution will give it greater control on how it markets and controls the supply of its smartphone portfolio.
This latest restructuring will see Samsung boost its sales team, which is headed up by Samsung Mobile’s UK sales director Andrew Glass (pictured). The four new account managers would be added to Glass’s team which includes Steve Barrington, head of distribution, and Simon Walsh, head of specialist retail and tablets.
One source said: ‘Samsung is recruiting more staff and restructuring the way it operates distribution. It is adding more account managers and indirect sales staff to look after their major retailers and work with them on moving to a direct distribution model.’
Another source said: ‘Samsung wants to provide more support to the existing team with more account managers. It is looking for four new people to join the team to support Steve Barrington and Simon Walsh.
‘What Samsung has now is a vertical and horizontal structure with Barrington and Walsh holding dual roles. Samsung wants to split those roles and provide more support.’
Any move by Samsung into direct distribution of its smartphones would come as a blow to Tech Data Mobile and Micro-P, with both companies holding substantial distribution deals with Samsung.
However, distribution sources warned that retailers should reject Samsung’s advances. One said: ‘Distribution is a lot more complex than [Samsung] thinks. Retailers don’t want to hold stock, they don’t give extended credit, have virtual warehouses or return loops. Samsung will have to throw a lot of money at retailers to get them to support this.’
A Samsung spokesperson said: 'We want to offer our partners a truly Samsung experience regardless of product category. Following the success of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, we are now making all of our IT and Mobile products more connected. As such, we have made the decision to implement a holistic rather than product-specific strategy in our retail partnerships to ensure we are able to fully capitalise on every channel when we launch a new device – irrespective of whether that’s a camera, tablet or mobile phone. Each partner can then choose the right supply route for their business. This will allow us, through our ten regional offices, to provide each of our partners in the UK and Ireland with dedicated, specialist support as and when needed, regardless of whether they have direct supply or indirect.'