The channel covers lot more than retail, resellers, distribution and vendors. PCR looks at the service companies

Channel Services: Tech support

Getting products onto shelves and into businesses isn’t as simple as making something and shipping it out any more. At least, not for those businesses that want to succeed and thrive.

Working with complementary firms can help with staffing, supply costs, ecommerce, education and much more. It can pay to bring in outside help.

From trade associations like CompTIA to channel marketing firms, to merchandising specialists and retail or data analysts, whatever you need, the channel offers.

Here’s a handy A-Z guide of some of the finest service companies around:


Designed for selling software through any channel, using any model, Avangate’s commerce integrated solution includes a full-featured, modular eCommerce platform, a Channel Manager system, as well as a global affiliate network that spans 35,000 software affiliates.

The Avangate SkyChannel Manager module delivers a partner order and revenue management solution for partner administration, channel management, commercial terms management, order and customer license management and automation.

It provides software and SaaS vendors with visibility to cross channel performance, fine-grained control of incentives and plans and end- to-end customer management through indirect channels.

Additionally, the SkyChannel Manager makes it easy to add and manage partners through a centralised partner administration console to effectively manage distributors, VARs, OEMs, retailers, as well as service providers. Avangate’s Sky Channel Manage helps vendors manage their entire distribution channel efficiently and reduce administration costs.

Contact: +44 (0) 2030 568 030

Formed in 1998, as a traditional IT buying group, Brigantia Partners plc is now a network of IT and communications experts that supply to the small business and consumer markets.

Brigantia exists to add value to its members’ businesses either by reducing costs or by increasing sales. Beyond increasing profits, Brigantia aims to add capital value to its members’ businesses.

Most IT business owners will probably never unlock the true value of the companies they have spent many years building: Brigantia exists to change this.

Business value is frequently about recurring revenue.

Brigantia provides its members with a range of essential services for the business and consumer markets – Brigantia says this generates recurring revenue at great prices to the end user with healthy margins for its members.

Brigantia has formed strategic partnerships with vendors and distributors which provide its members with prices which allow them to compete directly with etailers and multiples.

This, coupled with the advice that Brigantia members are able to provide, gives members the edge and helps secures their position as the local computer experts.

Contact: +44 23 8000 1120

Channel Assist is a 360° retail agency specialising in consumer electronics, IT and telco.

The company’s retail expertise combined with extensive retail relationships at head office, regional and store level means it is well positioned to drive both sell-in and sales out for its partners.

It offers a service mix of channel development, PR and trade marketing that focuses on generating product placement and creative marketing campaigns to maximise sales opportunity whilst Channel Assist’s POS design and production services, combined with its comprehensive field marketing solutions, are focused on generating sales from the shop floor.

All activities at the point of sale are supported via communication with retail commercial and planning teams and conversely all sell-in strategies leverage knowledge of the challenges at the point of sale to create impactful retail engagements. This 360° approach is what enables Channel Assist to integrate knowledge and relationships throughout a retail estate and maximise impact for both the vendor and the retailer.

Contact: 0207 330 6060

As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, CompTIA focuses its programmes on four main areas: education, certification, advocacy and philanthropy. It:

– Educates the IT channel: Educational resources, comprising online guides, webinars, market research, business mentoring, open forums and networking events, help members grow businesses to become the ‘best in class’.

– Certifies the IT workforce: It provides technology-neutral and vendor-neutral IT certifications.

– Advocates on behalf of the IT industry: It brings the power of small and medium IT businesses together as a united voice.

– Gives back through philanthropy: In addition to its foundation enabling disadvantaged populations to gain the skills they need for employment in the IT industry, CompTIA provides support to IT-based charities chosen by the members.

CompTIA’s vision is shaped by more than 2,000 members and more than 2,000 business partners. It’s driven by its members and led by an elected board of industry professionals.

Contact: 01256 864 279

Computer 2000 delivers both retailers and vendors a best-in-class merchandising and management service through in-house category and business management, strategic and tactical field marketing and marketing insight and intelligence.

This service has been developed with the aim of maximising retail sales, minimising costs and delivering the best in-store experience for the customer.

It includes in-store POS setup and maintenance including replenishment, range change management, quarterly performance reviews with store managers and planogram management.

Contact: 0845 990 3086

Gem Logistics provides clients with a complete service in warehousing and supply chain logistics services, looking after vital business-to- business distribution, or taking care of consumers with the prompt, efficient and economic delivery and distribution they expect.

Gem Logistics’ main warehouse facility in Raunds, Northamptonshire, is a modern £15m, 250,000 square foot building, with a state-of-the-art security system.

The firm offers a wide range of services that vendors and retailers can pick and choose from, from end user fulfilment to storefront delivery, European or international delivery, import, export, reverse logistics (returns), bespoke packaging, product bundling, container unloading, shrink wrapping, palletising, white label solutions and more.

Frank Ring, business development manager, comments: “One of our major USPs is definitely our flexibility. I think that supply chain in general has become a lot tighter, so stock is going to manufacture later, therefore you only have a short period of time to get it out.

“Our philosophy is ‘don’t say no’. We’ll try and find a solution until we’ve exhausted every possibility.”

Contact: 01279 822 800

Gem Creative is Gem Distribution’s award-winning in-house creative agency producing bespoke marketing solutions.

Working collaboratively with suppliers and customers, the team produces sophisticated and innovative marketing collateral and retail ready in-store solutions to help maximise product sell- through.

Gem Creative has already built a solid reputation for the quality of design and the breadth of solutions offered and has many projects in place with key vendors to promote products and brands in-store (independent, specialist and chain).

As well as supporting the core sales and logistic functions of Gem UK, Gem Creative also works as a design and PR agency, offering partners the service of a top tier creative agency creating solutions for any objective. It welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate its talents to businesses that might not yet be working with Gem’s primary sales and logistics functions.

Gem Creative offers: media buying, trade marketing, PR, retail marketing, in-store solutions, print and digital design services, customised bundles, bespoke packaging, in-house publication ‘The Future’.

Contact: +44 870 603 8100

GfK is one of the world’s leading research companies. Every day, its 12,000+ experts discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop in over 100 countries. It uses the latest technologies and smartest methodologies to help its clients deeply understand the most important people in the world: their customers.

Contact: 0797 6411 467

GNR says helps users make sense of their business’ data.

The firm uses your own data and their software to create dashboards, reports and analytics. This essentialy allows firms to organise data into a fabric that can be searched, analysed and visualised whilst adding standardisation and scalability.

GNR believes this frees the IT department from the constant barrage of demands from users who need access to different amounts of data, different data views, ad-hoc reports, and one-off requests for information.

GNR has a pedigree in the channel and is a channel- focussed firm – powered by the following vendors: QlikView, Analyzer from Strategy Companion and Differentia Consulting.

It says its solutions offer the fastest return on investment with clear, accurate reports that replace the static spreadsheet anarchy that exists in too many firms.

Dave Stevinson, vice president, comments: “We specialise in building customised business intelligence and business discovery solutions for the IT channel using industry leading reporting software. These allow the right people to have the right information at the right time in order to make the right decisions.”

Contact: 01925 817003

J2 Retail Systems is a manufacturer of PC-based touchscreens, LCD touchscreen monitors, point-of-sale hardware and peripherals. It supplies EPoS units to meet all budgets.

With 100,000 units installed worldwide, J2’s clients range from leading-brand retailers to hospitality businesses.

J2 says its products stand out for innovation, reliability and long product life, while delivering one of the lowest costs of EPoS ownership achievable today. It controls its own design and manufacture and always strives to improve user experience.

A pioneer of emerging technologies, J2 claims to have had the first EPoS to contain Solid State storage drives as standard and the first system to proactively monitor EPoS hardware and automate fault diagnosis and resolution before a till failure occurs.

J2 Retail Systems’ CEO, Moray Boyd comments: “Collaboration with customers is central to our design
strategy. Our policy of component standardisation enables J2 to extend product life and keep reducing cost of ownership. Our newly- launched J2 625 is the culmination of cutting-edge POS innovation.” J2 products are marketed through a community of resellers and solutions partners.

Contact: +44 (0)207 031 0272

Kantar Retail is a worldwide shopper and retail insights and consulting business and is part of the Kantar group of WPP.

The company works with a number of leading branded manufacturers and retailers to help them transform the purchase behaviour of consumers, shoppers and retailers through the use of retail insights, consulting, analytics and organizational development services.

Kantar Retail tracks and forecasts over 1000 retailers globally, has purchase data on over 200m shoppers and among its market-leading reports are the annual PoweRanking survey (USA and China), and Industry Shopper Study Across Retailers.

Kantar Retail works with over 400 clients and has 20 offices in 15 markets around the globe. It says its analysts better understand retailers and shoppers than anybody, while its consultants have line- management experience in leading global companies.

Contact: 0114 292 4060

MOREFROM.ME is a simple way for IT retailers and resellers to start selling online with minimal risk.

It’s also completely free; no set up or monthly fees and no payment gateway or web hosting fees.

Users get a full feature ecommerce website pre- populated with 140,000 IT products from 21 UK distributors and all maintained for them.

Customer order processing, supplier ordering, delivery, tracking and returns are taken care of. Clients can customise stores and a commission is paid on all sales – so there’s a guaranteed margin.

The solution is aimed at dealers who want to sell online but don’t want to invest time and money trying to break into an already crowded market, dominated by big players. It can also work as part of a multichannel solution.

Independent IT business consultant Richard Tubb calls MoreFrom.Me: “A nice way to recommend products to clients, receive some income, yet mitigate the overheads and risk”.

The MoreFrom.Me business solution is provided by online selling veterans, which has consistently won online retailer and customer service awards.


Network Group is an IT buying organisation. It’s owned and run by its members, and all profits are given back to the team, either directly or through the funding of group projects.

The group is led by an executive which is drawn from the membership. The executive carries out the day to day running of the group, but every member has an equal say and is involved in any strategic decision making.

Companies are vetted before they are allowed to become members. This ensures that each member adds to the strength of the group and that their business activities do not conflict with any existing members.

Its approved and preferred vendors and distributors attend regular meetings to present new products and services and to explore new opportunities. Members commit to focus their spend through these preferred channels. This helps to build strong relationships with its partners.

Regular marketing activities from Network Group include but are not limited to a quarterly business and retail publication, Network News magazine; a powerful email marketing tool; and web marketing, events and exclusive point of sale material to assist members in promoting preferred brands.

Contact: 0203 249 7657

OrderWork is a trusted, channel-only managed services provider which completes support and installation services on behalf of its reseller clients. Its IT professionals represent reseller brands on site, and complete large national support, deployment projects, and installations with measurable results.

IT resellers and solution providers are under pressure to make their customer’s IT infrastructure more adaptable and secure, which drives resellers to look at external technical experts to replace or supplement their existing capabilities.

OrderWork engineers have expertise across a broad set of technologies, and its service management technology proactively manages all technical support calls, so that you are always up to date on what is happening onsite with your end user tickets.

Benefits of outsourcing with OrderWork: White labelled to represent your brand; Covers mainland UK, NI and Scotland; 600 IT professionals (Level 1 – 6); Complementary technical skills; Four-hour response on bids.

OrderWork also supports several national retailers. Its engineers deliver a white labelled, in-home B2C service including desktop and router installs, home theatre set-up, and Freesat/aerial installations.

Contact: 0844 481 5844

Synaxon is a dealer group for independent retailers, resellers, VARs, MSPs and OP dealers. It has exclusive member terms with over 20 UK distributors and exclusive offers from more than 20 leading vendors.

Synaxon UK also has partnerships that offer cost savings and efficiency services to their membership – including Parcelforce, L&Z (DD), LPI, Autotask, etc.

By using the EGIS channel e- procurement platform, members can look up current pricing and stock availability from all distributor suppliers, automatically pull through their unique account price file and place their orders.

Members can also use Synaxon’s iTrends marketing services to send regular e-shots and personalised direct mailers to their own customers. Or, use the Clic2IT e-commerce solution to become an online trader.

Member companies have the support of a dedicated internal account manager as well as regular visits from Synaxon’s external BDM team.

Another benefit is the free to attend two-day channel conference that Synaxon organises annually.

“Being a Synaxon partner meant our buying-price was a lot lower and you get a rebate just for using EGIS,” says Anthony Lay, AML Midlands.

Contact: 01202 556628

THE [TECH] CROWD has been helping technology vendors, distributors and resellers to grow UK revenues since 2009.

Although many people industry may not have heard of the name The [Tech] Crowd, thousands of channel businesses in the UK industry will have been affected by its work. For instance, it has been instrumental in the hugely successful TP-Link market growth since 2010.

The [Tech] Crowd immerses itself in its clients’ organisations, representing clients as if a member of the in-house team.

Providing a truly strategic end-to-end business development service that ensures significant ROI is central to the company’s ethos, as Jamie Plumridge, managing director, explains: “Ever since our inception in 2009, our passion and focus has been to provide a service that ingrains itself within our clients’ UK sales strategy. Our services span the complete new business acquisition cycle. We believe that any successful sales strategy should encompass the creation of both supply and demand throughout the channel.

“We have a new iniative called ‘Channel Dragons’ that will connect new and exciting tech vendors with the UK’s most influential channel businesses. Watch this space!”

Contact: 0207 478 1677

Transmentum is a specialist business working with growing IT businesses.

With proven expertise working with companies as they change business model, Transmentum works hard to help their clients to sustain momentum, profitability and growth during transitional periods.

Fast growing businesses and businesses recently merged or acquired face a number of critical business issues whilst embracing change – especially when they are transitioning from one business model to another.

Transmentum is an innovative professional services business developed to meet this need in the IT sector.

With a track record of helping IT businesses to grow business revenues, profits, skills, and people, Transmentum adds value to businesses in the channel who are building a recurring revenue model – including those who aspire to move into the cloud or develop their own managed service propositions.

Businesses that have already made changes successfully, but are looking for faster, more sustained growth are among those who could benefit from working with Transmentum.

Contact: 01268 560028

TWENTY5EIGHT Solutions provides field marketing solutions to the technology, mobile and entertainment sectors, working with brands that demand extraordinary service delivery.

The company’s portfolio allows brands to tap into industry expertise in dedicated or tactical team solutions, retail staff training, compliance monitoring and correction and consumer experiential projects with emphasis on client business objectives delivery. There is a strong belief and passion for working with people in the field and in the principles of staff engagement which, it is felt, provides an invaluable experience for all stakeholders.

Twenty5Eight has a ‘working together’ ethos, and says its staff reflect passion, commitment, energy, knowledge, experience and relationship building.

It also boasts a 3,400 sq. ft. warehouse logistics operation; this allows it to manage clients’ projects from inception to delivering in- depth reporting solutions and every step in-between.

Sales director Danny Coe says: “We are extremely passionate on working with our partners to deliver not only a fantastic service offering but also a high level of return on investment."

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