Distributors Computer 2000 (C2000) and Ideal Hardware will follow in the footsteps of Ingram Micro by introducing an 'agency model' for VARs.
The scheme allows resellers to refer clients directly to distributors for low-margin hardware and software products in exchange for a commission.
Meinie Oldersma, managing director at Ingram UK, said the company currently ships 33 per cent of its orders directly to end-users on behalf of VARs.
This figure is expected to rise to half of all orders by the end of the year, following the introduction of its Select Source programme.
However, fears have been raised that if the model is successful, distributors could cut resellers out of the loop completely.
Graeme Watt, regional managing director at C2000, played down this fear, describing it as "speculation". "The future for resellers is in VAR-based projects," he said. "Hardware has very low margins. It is an unwanted side of their business. We started the programme because resellers had asked us to."
But an anonymous reseller dismissed Watt's comments, saying that he did not believe any reseller would want to pass off any part of its business that remained profitable. He also said the scheme would not work because all contracts between distributors and resellers would have to be completely rewritten.
Seamus Twohig, director of vendor relations at Ideal, said the model was actually assisting the reseller. "We're not working for resellers, we are working with them. There's a chance we could go direct but there's also a chance an asteroid might hit the earth."
C2000 is currently in discussions with resellers and Ingram said it already has a number of partners signed up. Both companies said announcements from the channel can be expected over the next two months.
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