Vendor wants to "do a better job for indies" as it consolidates portfolio and removes boxed product

Norton talks up ‘flexible’ revenue share scheme for retailers

Security giant Norton has given PCR full details of its flexible revenue share scheme as it removes boxed product and cuts its portfolio down to a single product.

Next week the anti-virus vendor will eliminate all its various products and boil them down to a single service: Norton Security. This will be priced at £39.99 annually or £49.99 which includes 24GB of data backup – a price which Norton emphasises is largely the same as its current products.

It is also phasing out boxed products entirely as it looks to a digital future – but will still offer download cards for retailers to display in-store.

More interestingly, Norton has recognised it can do more for smaller independent computer resellers, and hopes a flexible revenue share scheme and other new offerings will appease these types of customers. To compete with BullGuard’s popular offering, resellers will take a cut each time one of their customers renews a Norton Security subscription.

"Some retailers will want a higher discount up front and will make all of their money in year one, while other retailers will take less up front and get more in year two and year three," Fran Rosch, Norton Business Unit EVP and GM, told PCR.

"We have a lot of flexibility there – it’s more looking at the profitability holistically and being flexible with the retailer to come up with a model that works for them.

"We can offer this flexible revenue share scheme to smaller independent resellers through our distribution partners. Now clearly it’s easier when we go standard, but I believe the smaller independent retailers are a great opportunity for us. I don’t think we’ve always done as good of a job as we can, so we’re going to be investing more in partner enablement and self service.

"We’ll invest in a partner portal that has more ability for them to pull down content, marketing materials, get information and interact with us from a financial standpoint. That will take some time, but we’ll be working with them much more closely but in a much more automated fashion."

Rosch also explained the decision for Norton to consolidate its product portfolio.

"Norton is a very large business for Symantec – we have about 75 million users across our regular traditional devices as well as mobile. And I think when you look at the past five, six or seven years, the portfolio has got a little complicated," he added.

"We want to reduce all that complexity for the user and move more towards a subscription service. So we’ll be eliminating all those other products and bringing it down to a single service called Norton Security.

"So we’re bringing a more account based model where you log in, download the protection to PC, Mac or mobile device. So it’s a big shift from multiple products to an online service that you can manage your protection across all devices.

"We want to be wherever the customer wants to buy, so retail continues to be an important channel for us.
I had an opportunity to go John Lewis in Oxford Street and see how they’re positioning Norton there, and they’ve clearly moved to download cards rather than big boxes. So we will just have the cards going forwards."

All new customers who sign up from September 23rd will get the new Norton Security service and for them the legacy portfolio will not be available. 

Existing customers will slowly be phased over to Norton Security over the next couple of years.

Retailers and resellers will begin selling the new Norton Security subscription in the UK from October 10th.

"We’ll move gradually," Rosch commented. "What’s important is the level of security and protection is still there in the existing products and services, it’s more about moving to this new experience. We don’t feel the need to really rush – we will keep updating that core security.

Rosch explained the reasoning behind phasing out boxed products: "The boxes will over time be completely removed. They have been by and large disappearing over the past two or three years, and it’s just accelerating. In John Lewis they had Microsoft, Adobe and Norton cards. Some of them come in thin boxes that you open up, but generally that’s it. We still have some old fashioned retailers who like that box, but some just use empty boxes for merchandising."

Norton says it has around 42 per cent market share in the paid anti-virus sector, with a similar share in the UK.

Norton’s UK distribution partners include Exertis Gem, Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Microwarehouse (Ireland).

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