WD's retail salvo

Storage solutions specialist WD, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation, is ramping up its retail strategy across the region

Tags: Western Digital Corporation
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WD's retail salvo
By  Manda Banda Published  May 26, 2013

Storage solutions specialist WD, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation, is ramping up its retail strategy across the region. A more focused retail strategy is crucial to WD as it continues to build its branded business. Khalid Wani, sales director – Branded Business, Middle East, Africa and India at WD explains what the company has up its sleeves.

Despite the challenges that the global hard disk drives (HDD) industry has experienced over the last 18 months as a direct result of flooding in Thailand in late 2011, WD has remained focused on building its branded business across the region.

The company has over the last year concentrated on assisting its partners to mitigate the effects that emanated from the floods, keeping clear and consistent communication with partners to minimise business disruptions.

While the HDD sector has seen a steady recovery in the last 12 months, the IT industry as a whole has witnessed a decline in PC sales, a development that will have a direct bearing on the global HDD market.

And while this is happening in the PC segment, WD has not been deterred to continue developing and investing in its branded business in the Middle East.

“Over the last four quarters, WD has been growing its business despite our manufacturing operations having suffered a set-back by flooding in Thailand which led to the decline of the total unit business of HDD globally,” said Khalid Wani, sales director, Branded Business – Middle East, Africa and India at WD.

“From that challenge there has been an upturn in the external drive business and the recovery has been far stronger than what we had anticipated as we were able to return to our pre-flood levels in terms of revenues and unit share in just over three quarters. If you look at the last couple of quarters in the Middle East region, we have been stably, growing our business in excess of 15% to 20% and that’s pretty impressive.”

Wani said WD has witnessed rapid growth as demand for external drives continues to ramp up across different countries in the region. He said the company is seeing more consumers are wanting to back up more data that they are holding on their laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. “We believe that this trend will continue to offer massive growth for our branded business across the region which is fulfilled mainly through the retail channels,” he said.

Wani said if one looks at the home office and SMB environment, the sheer demand from the two segments is pushing WD to come up with more solutions that are tailored at these two sectors. “In the last 12 months, we launched a lot of products which cater to SMBs and we are doing a lot of things to create a much stronger and wider product pool for the entire segment,” he said.

He said the acquisition of Arkeia Software allows WD to strengthen offerings in the SMB and enterprise segment. “We launched the Sentinel product line and several options of this product range starting from 4TB all the way to 16TB on the core base storage. If you look at the personal cloud space, we have launched several variants of the My Book Live and channel partners in the region can expect to see more products in the coming months which will further enhance WD’s SMB portfolio. We continue to see demand for external drives coming from SMBs and what we have dubbed the professional consumer (Prosumer). I feel proud that the portfolio that we have caters to consumers, small office, Prosumers, SMBs and the enterprise segment.

Retail focus

With many vendors with consumer offerings sharpening their focus in the retail space, WD wants to not only grow its share in this sector but raise the brand appeal by offering customers products that fill a niche in the market.

“It’s always been a challenge to transition from a core components focus to having a clear strategy of addressing the retail segment with branded offerings,” Wani said. “That said, I do believe that we have worked and continue to execute our retail strategy in this region in line with the products that we have for the different retail segments in the region.

Wani explained that WD has segmented coverage in the retail sector across the region in terms of hyper retailers, power retailers and high street retailers.

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