It's still a one-tier model, but Acer has added another distributor to its mix, signing on newly established Express Online to service resellers across Australia.
Expresso has been named an Acer MasterGold partner -- the category set up for Acer distributors. Although the classification would signal a move by the vendor back to a two-tier distribution strategy, Acer channels manager Greg Mikalean said this was not the case.
"We don't have that second-tier program anymore," he told ARN. "When we went to a one-tiered structure, we went from 13 distributors to five. The MasterGold classification is a category specifically for Acer distributors."
Mikaelian said although Acer's direct channel is very strong, there are around 4,000 to 5,000 dealers around Australia that are best serviced by distributors.
Expresso's strong focus on the small-to-medium business sector attracted Acer, as well as its online operations.
"There is a lot of synergy in Express Online's business model," said Mikaelian. "It is very much in line with our clicks and mortar strategy. Express is very well known for its great customer service and reputation. They touch a lot of resellers."
Over the next couple of months, Express Online will link its Web site with that of Acer's partner e-commerce (APeC) site to allow resellers to configure their own systems for their customers. Currently Acer only provides its build-to-order facility to a select number of resellers. The system should be operational by the first quarter of 2003, according to Express Online's general manager, David Gage.
Acer is among the first to sign on with the distributor, which is a business division of Express Data.
"Partnering with us allows Acer to take (their distribution) to the next level," he said. "We are looking for partners that are particularly proactive in terms of their e-commerce strategy."
He said Expresso's focus is in providing services for vendors who want to reach the small business and small enterprise market.
Acer has significantly expanded its retail exposure this year, signing on a number of retailers across the country. The vendor has just reported a record month in the retail channel for November, and is currently setting up operations in New Zealand.