Tech Data has introduced its TDengage syndicated content system for resellers’ Web sites to Canada. The service, introduced in Europe three years ago and brought to the U.S. last year, allows solution providers to easily pick up current and accurate product and promotional information and put it on their own Web sites for free.
Irene Buchan, director of marketing for Tech Data Canada, said the product feed, which is updated by Tech Data Canada on a daily basis, helps solve one of many solution provider’s biggest marketing challenges – maintaining accurate and up-to-date product information on their Web sites.
“It allows a reseller to host comprehensive information on their Web site for free,” Buchan said. “A lot of resellers are really busy, and finding time to work with vendors to source and post the appropriate end user information just doesn’t happen for the typical Canadian SMB and midmarket VAR. They just don’t have the bandwidth to build that or maintain it.”
The alternative, for many, is vendor-provided microsites. But those sites are necessarily inconsistent with each other and with the reseller’s main site user interface, and don’t allow solution providers to easily display a variety of wares from a number of their vendor partners in one place. Also, many solution providers may be wary of anything that takes a customer away from their own Web property and towards the property of a vendor. Buchan said solution providers are able to choose not just the vendors they wish to be present on their TDengage Web front, but product categories or even down to the SKU level.
Today, the site simply allows solution providers to present product and promotional information on their own Web sites. But in the next few months, Buchan said the distributor will roll out a second version of the tool, one which will include a “buy now” link, which will allow customers to put together an order on the site, create an invoice with the solution provider’s name and logo, send the order to the solution provider for acceptance, and if accepted, drop-ship the products to the customer, or to the solution provider. This e-commerce enabled version of TDengage will carry “a small annual administration fee,” but will present an easy way for many solution providers to add e-commerce capabilities to their site.
The service is largely paid for by vendor partners, who pay to be included in the TDengage service. Buchan said there’s a “nominally priced” entry level offering, one which she believes the vast majority of Tech Data Canada vendors will at minimum take advantage of, with upgraded packages also available that include more exposure within the site, and vendor-specific microsites within resellers’ own sites.
The service addresses both the common request of resellers looking for help in marketing, and vendors’ increasing requests of distributors to help them get in front of end users.
“That’s always been a challenge, because we don’t traditionally talk to end users or get in front of them,” Buchan said. But with TDengage, the distributor is able to present vendors’ products to end users, through the familiar intermediary of a solution provider who will ultimately be responsible for the sales of those products.