Distribution Channels for Internet Telephony
Abstract (Summary)There are a great number of models and theories described by authors like Kotler & Armstrong (1996) and Hutt & Speh (1989) about distribution channels. However the models and theories are quite abstract and not branch specific.The size of the Internet is growing in an incredible speed and new possibilities with the Internet are being invented every day. The new technologies make it possible to use the Internet in many different businesses (Statskontoret, 1997). One such business is the telecommunication business and the technique of Internet telephony.With these both statements above I ask myself: How can Internet telephony be distributed?The question is if existing distribution channels on the market are suitable for the Internet telephony products, and what channels must telecommunication companies use to be competitive on the new combined tele- and datacommunication market.The purpose of this research is to contribute to an increasing knowledge in how Internet telephony can be distributed. Further the purpose is to identify and evaluate different options of distribution and find important factors that affect the choice and management of the distribution channel.Because of a lack of information in literature describing distribution channels for Internet telephony products, I decided to do a qualitative study in order to get a hold of relevant information. Since I wanted to study a such new and specific area as distribution channels for Internet telephony products and as I wanted to have the possibility to come back with supplementary questions, I chose a case study with complementary interviews as my method.This research has shown that there are a number of options to distribute Internet telephony products. There are also a number of intermediaries which are relatively new on the market and are not described in detail in any literature. New kinds of value- added resellers and system integrators with good competence are quite common on the tele- and datacommunication market today. They do not only resell products but also add value in form of hardware, software or service. When doing a choice of distribution channel both manufacturers and channel members want to have a close long term relationship. This can be done with common objectives and strategies or with partnerships in different forms. In evaluating a choice of distribution channel, criterias like cost, control and adaptivity, should be taken in concern. A multichannel or horizontal distribution approach is also quite common on the tele- and datacommunication market. Manufacturers need to use different channels to reach different customer segments. To manage a good relationship in a channel the manufacturer have to motivate, handle conflicts and support the channel members.
School:Högskolan i Skövde
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:11/05/2007