IBM Announces New Web Site, Enabling Customers To Purchase IBM PC Products Via the Internet

Electronic Links With Business Partners for Rapid Order Fulfillment

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NEW YORK - 15 Apr 1998: - IBM today announced a new Web site, enabling customers to purchase the entire spectrum of IBM PSG products via the Internet.

Based on input from over 18 customer focus groups in five countries, the site is designed to provide one integrated environment for every step in the purchasing process -- from sales assistance to ordering custom-configured products to technical support. The site will be available on April 21, 1998 and feature the entire line of IBM PSG products, including Think Pads, Netfinity, Commercial Desktop, IntelliStation, Options and Monitors.

The new PSG Web site is a product of IBM's extensive market research with customers of all types, from consumers to small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations. According to the IBM study, simplicity and choice in navigation options were the most important factors in user satisfaction with a site, across all customer types and geographies. Customers consistently indicated a preference for sites with fast-loading graphics and a simple, clean look and feel.

The new PSG Web site allows users to choose a navigation experience that quickly meets their individual needs whether browsing, buying a product or getting support. For example, customers who know exactly what they want can navigate directly to product specifications and pricing. Others users can choose to view at-a-glance comparisons of specific product families, such as ThinkPad or Netfinity. Customers can also opt for IBM's automated sales assistant for more in-depth help with needs determination and product recommendations.

At any point while browsing the site, customers can easily click to receive custom configuration options, obtain actual pricing from IBM Business Partners or place an order. This eliminates the need for customers to navigate through complex layers of pages to reach the information or tools they require. For example, government and education customers will be able to view information specific to their market segment.

``The site is a key part of our focus on e-business. It marks a major shift towards delivering on customers' interests rather than just serving up what the PC vendor wants to get across,'' said Dave Thomas, senior vice president and group executive, IBM PSG. ``Revenue from online sales may be interesting to the industry, but not to a customer. Customers want us to think about the entire online experience from their point of view and make our site as simple and flexible as possible.''

Designed to provide consistency across all product and services offerings, the Web site also provides seamless links to IBM Business Partners for rapid order fulfillment. To find the Business Partner nearest them, customers can use IBM's online dealer locator with a convenient mapping function, or opt to call IBM's 800 number. CDW, Comark, CompUSA Direct, Insight and Microwarehouse are the initial participating Business Partners, with additional Business Partners such as CompuCom, Computer City and Inacom expected to join within the next few months.

``This site is another huge step for AFI, IBM's Advanced Fulfillment Initiative,'' said Dave Boucher, general manager of AFI Worldwide. ``We were the first company to give our customers the benefits of channel assembly, delivering custom-configured products quickly and affordably. Now we're the first to bring channel assembly to the Web, giving our customers additional choice and convenience for everything from servers to notebooks.''

After customers have purchased IBM products, the site delivers easy access to personalized online support. Customers profile once with IBM and are thereafter greeted by name and information tailored to their machine type, computing environment, and individual interests, such as business applications or games. For example, a corporate ThinkPad user might receive information on Microsoft Windows NT and remote connectivity, while an Aptiva user focused on gaming might see a page loaded with hints and tips on CD-ROMs and graphics. Customers can also contact IBM via e-mail.

The new PSG Web site was developed with the latest IBM e-Business tools, including net.Commerce, Intelligent Catalog and Lotus Notes, and runs on IBM RS/6000, Netfinity and PC Servers. IBM is also working with its Business Partners to ensure the entire online purchase process conforms to top industry security standards.

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