D-Link to enhance focus in retail sector
Networking vendor takes aim at power retailers with training and enablement schemes
D-Link Corporation, a connectivity solutions maker for small, medium and large enterprise business networking, has announced that it is upping its focus in the power retail segment to arm retailers with training schemes and enablement programmes.
According to the company, the strategy to strengthen the focus in the retail channel comes at a time when the sector has continued to show resilience and maturity despite the tough prevailing market conditions in the Middle East IT industry.
Sakkeer Hussain, director, Sales and Marketing, D-Link Middle East and Africa (MEA), said as a networking solutions vendor that caters to the consumer, SOHO, SMB and enterprise segment, D-Link has decided to reinforce its initiatives and work closely with all the major power retail outlets in the region. "Our focus for this year is to guide our retail partners on how they can continue to grow their business despite a very competitive and tough economic climate," he said.
Hussain added that from D-Link's standpoint, the market is growing and more power retailers are paying attention to improve customer experiences and the services they can offer. "What we are doing on our part as a vendor is to provide something new to our retail partners be it the networking products or the broad accessory range we have in our stable," he said.
He added that as part of the enhanced partner focus and offerings, training is at the core of D-Link's products and solutions offerings especially for retailers because the business in this segment is highly competitive. "D-Link not only provides regular training to its retail and tradition channel (SI and reseller) partners, it helps power retailers by providing promoters and merchandisers on a regular basis when the company is running some promotions," he pointed out.
Hussain said although the retail channel is maturing, it still faces challenges relating to declining margins, lack of skilled floor sales staff, grey imports, counterfeit goods and a lack of comprehensive post-sales support. "That's why, part of our focus is to get retail partners involved in handling the post-sales experience to their customers," he said.
He explained that post-sales support plays a crucial role in ensuring that retail partners are able to handle the first line of trouble shooting or RMA collection on any product that they may have sold from D-Link. "We are encouraging our retail partners to get their sales people trained regularly as doing so will ensure that they have qualified employees that are able to offer proper advice to end user customers," he said.
Hussain said with some SOHO and SMB customers sourcing some products from retail channels, it's critical that retailers are aware of this trend and start tweaking their business models accordingly.
"It's a growing trend especially in more mature markets in Europe and North America, where consumer electronics retailers already have commercial products in their outlets specifically to cater to SOHO and SMB customers," he noted.
According to Hussain, in the Middle East it is slowing coming especially on the networking and peripherals type of products, where some vendors are allowing their retail partners to stock and sell SMB products. "This is a good start but requires a lot of awareness campaigns and support from the vendors and distributors," he said.