Daisy has launched its first ever online store as it looks to bolster its traditional hardware business, claiming its move towards products is much easier than that of rivals who are moving from hardware towards services.
At the moment, around 85 per cent of Daisy's business comes from services. But as the company aims to become an end-to-end IT provider, it is beefing up its capability in selling products. The online store, which launched today, will allow customers - existing and new ones - to purchase traditional hardware from the firm.
The initiative to sell more products forms part of an overall strategy to become an end-to-end provider, offering customers everything they need, Daisy's director for vendor alliances Jeff Palmer told CRN. He noted other channel firms have had online stores for a while, so Daisy "had to get up to speed as soon as possible".
In recent years, the channel has undergone a significant shift away from selling traditional hardware, moving towards more lucrative, margin-rich services sales instead. But Daisy's plan - to beef up its product offering - appears to be the opposite.
Palmer acknowledged this and said his firm's job is much easier than that of its rivals.
"The services element is the most complex area of the IT industry," he said. "It's one that needs the most up-front investment and the most skills. Quite frankly, the product side of the business, you could argue, is a bit ‘me too' and anyone can do it so long as you can get a box out of a warehouse. We're coming at this as the market leaders for the complex bit.
"We're doing the easy bit now. Now we are picking up the easy, transactional business. If I look at our competitors - Softcat, CDW, Computacenter, Misco - they've been in that product marketplace for years. They're now trying to get into the services marketplace. It is so complex to do it. I feel we've got the easier job because we are selling to a massive customer base who we already supply critical services to."
Palmer said that the new online store is "great news" for its sales team because they will still be rewarded for any transactions made by the accounts they own, whether they be through the store or after dealing with them. He said the arrival of the store means its sales staff can concentrate on selling higher-margin services.
"We're doing the easy bit now. Now we are picking up the easy, transactional business."
"We're keen to ensure we are really easy to buy from and to gain support from," he said. "Frankly, waiting for an account manager to service a simple requirement [is not ideal] when he should be in front of customers discussing complex projects and dealing with issues. We want sales guys and girls in front of customers, not transacting low-value, low-margin business. Our customers would prefer [to buy] online."
Telecoms firms and the traditional IT channel have converged somewhat in recent years. Daisy has acquired Phoenix IT as part of the trend, while Chess has snapped up Lanway. SCC has also made moves the other way, gobbling up a number of voice outfits last year.
Palmer said that the online store is another example of the impact convergence is having on the company as it looks to serve its customer base better.
"Customers can now procure the equipment for those services," he said. "What we're aiming to get to is an end-to-end service provider. If we provide your network, why wouldn't you buy the equipment which connects to that network?
"It fills a massive gap which had been there for a long time. Will we ever finish the journey? No. But it fills something customers have been asking for, for a good long while. We listened and reacted. This is an integral part of our end-to-end play. We don't want to be another online retailer. We've done this as part of our cohesive strategy."
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