Source IT ramps up retail success

Middle East mobile phone distributor Source IT wants retailers in the region to focus even more on recognising their core competencies. With a range of innovative distribution techniques, Source IT has already gained a strong foothold in the Middle East retail channel.

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By  Alex Malouf Published  August 18, 2004

Middle East mobile phone distributor Source IT wants retailers in the region to focus even more on recognising their core competencies. With a range of innovative distribution techniques, Source IT has already gained a strong foothold in the Middle East retail channel. The company is an authorised distributor for i-mate smartphones as well as accessories from vendors such as Jabra and Covertech. Source IT anticipates first year sales of US$20m during 2004. Source IT’s founders, Ahmed Al-Azzawi and Chris Rae, launched the company in January 2004. Previously employed at broadline distribution giant Tech Data, the two founders have used this experience to incorporate cutting edge channel thinking into Source IT’s business approach. “We set out from day one to stand apart from other distributors in the market,” said Chris Rae, sales VP at Source IT. “We come out with offers on accessories and run bundling deals through cross-subsidising to offer a true value-add service to customers.” This value-added service includes special packaging for bundled products. Rather than just shrink-wrapping bundled products together — commonly known as soft bundling — Source IT will put them together in a specially designed box, otherwise known as box bundling. “We provide retailers with our products on an exclusive basis,” explained Ahmed Al-Azzawi, director at Source IT. “These products are unique to us, even if others work with the same brands. We design a turnkey solution for retailers and all the work is done locally. Through such methods, we believe Source IT has become the largest volume distributor for i-mate through out the Middle East. As Source IT introduces innovative channel techniques to the market, it is looking for retailers to follow suit. “There is still a box-shifting mentality in the region, both at a distribution level and a retail level,” said Rae. “We are looking to be more creative than distributors that are simply moving boxes. This is the way the market has gone in the US and Europe. The channel needs more education on what their core competencies really need to be.” While Source IT has got off to a cracking start, Azzawi and Rae’s former employer is now looming large in the competitive landscape. Tech Data has been awarded Middle East and North Africa (MENA) distribution rights by i-mate with a brief to sell into established retail and resell channels, provide technical training and eliminate the trading of these devices by third parties. Let battle commence.

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