Tech Data recently announced the launch of a new offering in the Australian channel, in the form of a B2B e-commerce site - labelled Shop - specifically designed for partners.
The roll-out echoes a similar unveiling in 2014 across North America, with the distributor’s cloud-based platform deployed in numerous countries across the world, undergoing regular enhancements to align with evolving partner and vendor solution needs.
“Digital transformation is part of our core strategy at Tech Data,” said Wendy O’Keeffe, country general manager of Australia and New Zealand at Tech Data. “Innovative platforms like Shop enable us to connect with and support our channel partners in new ways to further help them unlock high-growth opportunities.”
The Australian site leverages the features and functionality that earned Tech Data two Internet Retailer Excellence Awards in 2017, in the form of B2B E-Commerce Website Design of the Year and B2B e-Commerce Player of the Year.
According to O’Keeffe, Shop will “supercharge” the distributor’s eBusiness capabilities in Australia.
“It also complements Tech Data’s other award-winning platforms like StreamOne Cloud Marketplace and StreamOne Enterprise Solutions which help our channel partners seamlessly connect all cloud services and quickly scale their cloud businesses,” O’Keeffe added.
Following a trial phase locally, the platform is now open to partners.
“Launching our new web property in Australia is one of many investments we are making to embrace this high-potential market,” said David Spindler, global vice president of eBusiness at Tech Data. “It's not only a way for our partners to procure the products we represent, but it also showcases our vendor partners and acts as an extension of our excellent sales team.”
Designed with a focus on ease of use, Spindler said Shop includes a customisable dashboard design that brings key technologies and offers to the forefront, providing a “best-in-class” user experience in the process.
“Shop was built based on customer feedback,” Spindler explained. “We’re an agile shop and this requires focus on the user being in the centre of the equation, and making things simple for our customers.
“All of our customers are consumers and business owners, so from the consumer side especially, we had to align to market expectations. We examined the platforms used to buy clothing and groceries for example, which allowed us to understand what the consumer expected in terms of experience - we had to match this expectation.
“We started with customer engagement, understanding user requirements and making enhancements accordingly, which we believe will benefit our reseller ecosystem.”
Housing a continually expanding range of features, Spindler said key benefits include a “comprehensive” online product catalogue; account and credit status information and visibility into online orders and quotes.
Furthermore, featured promotions are also available, alongside 24/7 accessibility and warranty add-ons to recommend support and warranty uplifts on hardware and software, in addition to any device ease of access.
“Tech Data is known for being a multi-faceted distributor,” Spindler said. “We carry everything from the living room to the data centre, and all the pieces in the middle.
“Therefore, we realised an opportunity around displaying our offerings and promoting our vendors to help our current base of resellers, but to also attract new resellers to the platform.
“We believe this to be a big step in that direction because if you’re not in e-commerce today in some shape or form, you’re a very specialised player. We have a strong value-added arm and this will not hurt our specialised business, rather it allows us to enhance our offerings by allowing resellers to conduct business through our systems.”
In looking ahead, Spindler said expanded functionality is due mid-2019 and will include renewal portal providing access to opportunities, quotes and orders, alongside pricing and inventory APIs to enable partners to interact with their own third-party systems.
“An e-commerce site isn’t just a platform to place an order, if that was the objective then we would fail,” Spindler clarified. “Most of our customers today are well-informed and do their homework and research electronically.
“Our customers research on our website and in some ways, our website actually acts as a sales person who represents our company through highlighting the vendors that we carry and outlining benefits to the resellers that buy those offerings.
“We absolutely expect to attract new partners and expect to attract new vendors. We’re investing a lot of money in this market to make us a leading player in the channel.”
In short, Spindler said Shop is built on three core drivers; digitisation, local expertise and code.
“We’re ready to go now,” added Pia Broadley, director of sales and operations at Tech Data. “It’s important for partners to have multiple options in how they do business and this is another opportunity for us to service the channel. We will continue to build and invest in our systems and people locally.”