Often, a distributor's biggest challenge is attracting resellers. After all, how does a distributor distinguish itself: Tech support? Sales incentives? Co-op funds?
Vantage Point (formerly Clear Distribution) is going one better and actually bringing resellers under its roof. General manager Paul Jenkins says the Lane Cove-based company has launched Vantage Point Technology Parc (VPTP), a fully serviced office and configuration environment aimed at smaller resellers operating in vertical markets.
At VPTP, resellers will be able to rent private, lock-up workspaces available in a variety of sizes and layouts. In addition, reseller tenants will have access to fully serviced and staffed administrative offices, technical support personnel and marketing and graphics services. Jenkins says costs for participating resellers will start at about $300 per week and proceed according to services used. At this stage, Vantage Point expects about 20 reseller tenants. All tenants will have 24-hour access to their space.
The launch of VPTP follows a reshuffling of the deck for five-year-old Clear. Essentially, the company has abandoned its value-added distribution model in favour of a new, four-tier strategy: (1) Time- and place-oriented distribution of the Philips, Unisys and Acer product lines; (2) On-site PC assembly and configuration; (3) Contract technical support and engineering; and (4) the above-mentioned Vantage Point Technology Parc.
Clear Distribution's sister company, Clear Technologies, continues to exist as a freestanding systems integrator and Jenkins says the launch of VPTP is, in many ways, borne out of the natural conflict of interest between those two entities. "There's no question that channel conflict played a major part. A lot of resellers and integrators were wary of dealing with a distributor that was also operating as a systems integrator," Jenkins said. "Even when there's a clear definition between the two, there's always going to be that feeling of uncertainty. What we're doing now is operating under a different model and one that avoids inherent conflict."
Jenkins says he believes a key selling point of Vantage Point Technology Parc is the immediate, unencumbered access to product that it offers resellers. "Resellers will literally be able to walk down the corridor into the warehouse, select what they want, put it on a trolley and take it back to their own area," he said. "The freight component in getting product is gone."
Although Vantage Point is currently handling only Philips, Unisys and Acer product, there are no restrictions on reseller tenants. "It's their space, they're free to do whatever they like. We'd like to think the quick access to the product lines we carry will be attractive to them, but it's their decision," he said. Jenkins says Vantage Point is negotiating with modem, printer and software vendors in an effort to extend its product line. "However, we want to avoid competing lines," he said. Vantage Point: Tel (02) 9427 8411.