Dell has expanded its reach into distribution, signing on D&H Distributing in a deal aimed at increasing Dell’s presence in retail and e-tail locations.
Under the North America-wide agreement, D&H will have access to Dell’s Inspiron, XPS, and Alienware notebook and desktop lineups, as well as Dell’s Android and Windows tablets, monitors, projectors, accessories, and imaging products. While D&H has long positioned itself as the distributor of choice for SMB-focused solution providers, the arrangement with Dell does not include Dell’s commercial product line, and D&H continues to champion primarily HP and Lenovo in the commercial space.
“Dell came to us to get increased reach. They’ve been a great producer of consumer products over the years, and they’ve asked us to help broader their consumer reach,” said Greg Tobin, general manager of D&H Canada.
Key to the process will be identifying a core of smaller retail and e-commerce partners for whom Dell would be an attractive addition. The distributor already has put together its first “shortlist” of partners to take the Dell offering to, and will be introducing those offerings shortly, Tobin said.
While SMB-focused VARs have long been D&H’s bread and butter, the distributor has also maintained a team that works on support for retailers and e-commerce sellers. Tobin said it’s an effort to “remain true to the SMB independent solution provider” that is the core of the D&H customer base.
“They’re totally different businesses with very different types of products. One is mostly a stocking strategy, and the other is very much solutions-based,” he said. “They tend to be a very different situation altogether, and it’s hard to have one individual covering both of those models. So we don’t do it.”
Dell has long worked with Ingram Micro and Tech Data on the commercial business for years, making some of its most popular business SKUs available through those two distributors. But it has remained largely focused on direct-to-partner fulfillment for channel purchases of anything outside those top-selling SKUs, including most everything custom-configured. Tobin said that at this point in time, there is no discussion underway to expand the Dell/D&H pact to cover Dell’s commercial product line, and he doesn’t anticipate that happening.