There are hundreds ― perhaps thousands ― of articles online acclaiming business’s top tech trends for 2016 (and beyond). Various blogs can help small-business owners and foremost CTOs alike choose the right gadgets and software for their offices. Yet, few ― perhaps no ― online tech writers are willing or able to tell businesses the right way to obtain that precious tech.
Buying tech from manufacturers is complicated and expensive, and often major technology companies have little time to devote to necessary customer support. Companies that acquire their tech from this source are often confused and disappointed by the poor quality of service. Fortunately, there is a better way: resellers.
What Are Resellers?
The term “reseller” often has a negative connotation. However, there are several legitimate methods of earning revenue through products and services without being a manufacturer.
Perhaps the most famous type of reseller is the retailer. Both in digital and physical stores, retailers sell all sorts of products to consumers, and most retailers are not themselves manufacturing the items for sale. Retail is one of the largest global industries, and it falls under the umbrella of reselling. However, businesses stand to gain the most from resellers of a different variety.
Value-added resellers (abbreviated to VARs) combine products and services to enhance their offerings beyond the limits of manufacturers and work with distributors to gain access to products. VARs are most common in the IT and technology sectors, and some specialize even further, preferring certain fields such as communications systems or video software. Currently, there is no standard for VAR programs, which allows for numerous business benefits.
How Do Companies Contact Resellers?
Finding manufacturers is usually much easier than finding VARs, which is why so many businesses are unaware of the amazing benefits of resellers. Fortunately, businesses don’t need to know any secret passwords to gain access to VARs for their most-needed tech.
Often, the easiest way to locate potential VARs is actually through manufacturers. Some manufacturers do have VAR divisions to help, but most manufacturers are more than happy to authorize the reselling of their goods by third parties. Partnering with resellers is profitable for them because they can devote fewer resources to sales and customer service.
Thus, visiting a manufacturer’s website ― like Dell ― may help businesses locate a list of VARs with brand-specific products and services. Businesses can also search for VARs by contacting reseller associations. These national groups facilitate authorization by smaller, more regional VARs, so businesses can locate particular distributor partnerships ― like those with a Cisco authorized reseller ― through a single portal. These two methods usually yield the most trustworthy results.
The other methods of contacting resellers are slightly less reliable. Sometimes, other local businesses have information about useful VARs that may be of use. Additionally, computer or electronics stores as well as maintenance or repair shops sometimes carry lists of regional VARs. However, there is a high likelihood that this information is outdated, irrelevant, or inauthentic, so businesses must research potential partnerships before agreeing to terms.
What Benefits Do Resellers Provide?
As indicated by their name, VARs add value to the products and services they sell. The manner in which VARs add value depends on the individual reseller. Some combine software and appropriate hardware into one convenient bundle; others supplement systems with features like IT support. Some businesses may find VARs willing to develop applications that customize certain products to specific needs. Other businesses may require extended warranties provided only by VARs.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of VARs is superior customer service. Manufacturers rarely have time or resources to consult with individual businesses, which means businesses that get tech from the source must be sufficiently knowledgeable about the tech to make informed decisions and perform maintenance.
Meanwhile, most VARs are eager to develop close relationships with businesses. Usually, VARs will strive to understand the business and its needs before suggesting appropriate tech, ensuring that businesses only purchase the products and services they need. Then, as the business grows, partnered VARs can provide additional resources to help business thrive.
Usually, VARs acquire their tech from manufacturers at wholesale rates or form partnerships with distributors, adding only marginal percentages to those costs before reselling to businesses. Plus, conditions and methods of payment are often negotiable, which means businesses may be able to customize their plan entirely. Considering the usefulness of VAR product and service bundles, businesses could potentially save millions by partnering with a VAR.