Dell opens arms to channel

Champions direct relations with reseller partners as key to strategy, but won't rule out dealing with distributors in future
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As the dust settles following the landmark unveiling of Dell's battle plan for entering the UK channel, the Texas-based firm has told PC Retail that cutting out the distribution middle man and working directly with reseller 'partners' will be a huge advantage as it begins to guide its huge manufacturing infrastructure through Britain's network of resellers.

The Dell Partner Direct programme – which deals specifically with resellers selling to businesses and is separate from the consumer-facing retail operation – will be defined by this close relationship between vendor and channel, an approach which industry veteran and recently appointed UK channel director Andy Dow (pictured) thinks has been a long time coming.

"I think that relationship is worth a huge amount," he said in an exclusive interview with PC Retail. "I've been in the industry a long time and I've heard repeatedly over the years 'I would love a close relationship with my manufacturers'. And that is what Dell is about. We're saying to the channel, have a direct relationship with us, there's no one in between."

However, Dell refused to deny the possibility of working with UK distribution firms in the future: "We don't rule out a relationship [with distribution]. Where it brings something that that we cannot get otherwise, or in any other way, we will absolutely look to engage with them."

And for those unconvinced by the entry of what was once a thorn in the side of the channel, the message from Dow is that Dell is here to stay – and working with the firm and all the industrial weight it brings will spark growth and prosperity in the channel.

"We bring commitment to the channel – a long-term, serious commitment," continued Dow. "We're here to drive growth in the mid market, which as we all know has the potential for the fastest growth in the UK. That's really what Dell wants to bring to the channel – we would say come on board and be part of the growth with us. We're investing in it, work with us. And to be honest, profitable growth is what everyone needs right now. I believe we can bring something very sustainable to the market."

– For a full interview with Andy Dow turn to page 31 in the March issue of PC Retail or download the PDF of the magazine. Look out for next month's PC Retail, in which we will take a look at Dell's consumer-facing retail strategy.

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