Brisbane-based vendor, Xitel, has signed an exclusive distributorship in Australia with Saratoga Distribution. The deal signals a homecoming for the vendor, which traditionally sells to the US.
Xitel predominately sells audio accessories and cabling as well as iPod docks. It also sells portable lockboxes for the home and vehicles.
Xitel vice-president of product development, Ben Davis, said the vendor had dabbled in selling its products in Australia and for a period sold directly to retail giant, Harvey Norman. But he said the overheads required were excessive and that going through the channel was the best method.
“Because we have an OEM development side and a retail side, we’ve got to try and balance both of them up,” he said. “If I take resources away from the OEM side to retail, then it’s got to get a return.
“We always thought at the back of our mind we’d work through distribution in Australia…our reason for picking Saratoga is so they can run with it and be our brand presence here.”
Davis said Xitel was first started in Australia 34 years ago as an OEM designer and began selling its own branded product eight years ago. But the US market offered a much larger volume of sales while the local market was more costing more than it was worth.
“We’ve dabbled here in the past, but this is the first time we’ve assigned a distributor that we’ve vetted and we’re strongly getting behind as well,” he said. “We like [Saratoga’s] business ethos because they’re very customer-focused and driven. I think that’s very important in Australia.”
While Saratoga will be responsible for handling all returns, servicing inquiries will be handled through an email system by the vendor. The vendor will use a just-in-time delivery system to cut costs.
“We like to work with one or two small players that are hungry and can deliver results,” Davis said. “Saratoga can’t afford to hold massive inventory and we don’t like to either.
Saratoga owner and director, Ivar Stanelis, said the deal came about after two months of on and off discussions. He claimed mass merchant retailers and independent resellers would benefit the most from the range as the Christmas sales season approached.
“I think they’re really good consumer products and that they’ll go very well,” he said. “I think it’s unique, although I suppose some of the products involving security cabling has people like Kensington competing.”