When buying hardware for client accounts, IT service providers are not bereft of choices. On one hand, they can shop through wholesalers and unlock huge discounts on bulk orders. Yet even with a low cost per product, the onus falls on them to keep stock of unsold goods. This introduces myriad overhead costs and headaches.
Conversely, IT service providers can partner with distributors. Through distributor programs, they still attain aggressive pricing, but they also benefit from various value-added services.
An Appointed Manufacturer Point-of-Contact
The agreement wholesalers hold with manufacturers and customers is transactional. They assume warehouse duties and middle-man all sales and shipping responsibilities for a profit. For the customer, once the shipment arrives, the relationship with the wholesaler ends. Along the chain, all parties transact and nothing more.
Manufacturers interface with distributors differently. Distributors stock, sell and ship products but also run support programs with free resources. Thus, they are not just a cheap hardware source; they are a source of enablement.
For a manufacturer to partner with a distributor, that distributor must obtain a high-level of understanding of its products. This becomes apparent in both the pre and post-sales processes.
IT service providers can ask distributors for recommendations and comparisons. Rather than scanning through spec sheets and bargains on wholesaler websites, these providers can reach out for insights. Because distributors deal with dozens of manufacturers, the recommendations will be free from biases. This saves IT service providers from making hardware selections based on popularity and unjust brand loyalties.
Distributor programs often run generous warranty, exchange and return periods. They also aid in technical support matters that providers cannot solve. Lastly, distributors can dropship products directly to end-users in small quantities, eliminating the need to store stock in-house. The delivery process, in particular, is a major boom wholesalers cannot match.