Targeting high-end, customised notebooks at specific market sectors has provided HiTech Distribution with a major sales boost.
The distributor, in conjunction with Acer and a select band of resellers, trialled a limited release of models valued at more than $3000 in October.
The strategy helped boost its overall Acer sales by 107 per cent over the previous year and led to Acer's Notebook Distributor of the Year award, HiTech managing director, Ian Vagg, said.
"Resellers have been able to go market with an exclusive, highly customised model backed by a major vendor," he said. "We now plan to do three or four more exclusive models this year."
Based on last year's sales, HiTech is anticipating the scheme will account for 30-40 per cent of its notebook sales in 2005, Vagg said. This approach provided resellers with a high degree of differentiation and greater margins.
"We have gone for mid- to high-end products, which have the advantage of lasting longer in the market place than entry-level models," he said. "As we are buying in large quantities, the notebooks are also more cost-effective and we can give resellers a better margin."
Acer's national channel sales manager, Greg Mikaelian, said HiTech's approach had been particularly aimed at independent dealers plying their trade in the SOHO market.
"Independent retailers don't have to compete with mass merchants if they have a unique model," he said. "They can also provide a higher level of service and value to customers by catering to specific requirements."
Despite Acer already offering customisation to the channel through its Build Your Own website, HiTech was able to offer a combination of features not available to other partners, Mikaelian said.
"In Australia, Build Your Own is mostly targeting PCs and servers," he said. "This is because the level of build you can do on a localised notebook is usually limited to the operating system, memory and optical drive."
HiTech's strategy was currently limited to a select number of resellers in SA and Victoria, but the company would look to expand its approach nationally, Vagg said.
"We want to take this approach into Queensland and NSW next, but we will confine it to one or two resellers in each state," he said.