What can vendors do to better support independent PC retailers? A survey commissioned by BullGuard shows what indies would like to see more of from tech vendors.
Structured reward schemes and close support is vital to many independent retailers, helping to improve a bottom line, attract new customers and incentivise sales staff.
19 of the 20 surveyed retailers already deal with vendors who offer some form of reward. In some cases, retailers were quite happy with how these were structured, listing a personal approach, marketing support and achievable and significant targets as the most important considerations.
For many others, rewards seemed to be more an afterthought than a genuine advantage. When asked to rate rewards out of 10, the average score was just 6.2. The most common complaint was that rewards weren’t substantial enough, or that achieving worthwhile rewards is too challenging.
When asked to judge overall support, including attention, resources provided and personal care from vendors, votes from the independents were mixed, with an overall score of 6.4 out of 10.
A recurring issue was a lack of communication, and especially 'a more personal touch'.
Indies would like vendors to offer a better range of products at cheaper prices, better marketing opportunities, and more effective POS materials to help drive customers to stores and websites.
According to indies, vendors need to offer better support and more dedicated personal time for smaller organisations to help even the playing field. This could include showcasing independent retailers on their website to drive business to stores, increased involvement in joint ventures, co-branding and marketing, and direct line support.
One indie said: "Price is important but a couple of pounds makes no difference. I’d rather buy from vendors that offer a personal touch.”
Another added: "I have never heard from the majority of vendors. “They need to come out and visit us and learn more about our business. More dedicated time for independents can go a long way.”
Steve Hicks, head of global sales for BullGuard, commented: “The message here seems to be that while independent retailers appreciate rewards, they can feel undervalued if they are not properly structured. More is needed on a personal level to support and nurture partnerships.
“We’re always listening to our customers and trying to improve our own service, so it’s good to see that many of the most important factors highlighted here are fundamental parts of our Advantage Partner programme.”
BullGuard's Advantage revenue share scheme - which gives indies a percentage of revenues made from each software renewal they generate - has seen over €12 million paid back to partners since 2010.
Partners qualify for revenue share once they purchase 10 units of BullGuard product. BullGuard Advantage+ was added in January 2015, offering partners generating in excess of 500 customer activations per annum more benefits, such as an additional 5 per cent increase in revenue share.
Read the upcoming May issue of PCR for more indie retail views on vendor support
Image source: Shutterstock (business people shaking hands)