Tech Data completely revamped its website for SMB solution provider partners to make coordinating orders and communications with the distributor smoother and more intuitive.
The SMB site is based on a responsive design concept intended to offer solution providers a more customized experience, provide easier access to products and bolster communications with Tech Data, said Phil Filippelli, vice president of e-business at the Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor. The site is built on four pillars: usability, content, commerce and community.
"We're creating a tailored Web experience for our SMB customers really unlike other Web properties in the channel," Filippelli said. "What we're doing is we're trying to create a really interactive environment for them that is really inspired by the B2C market."
However, it’s "not just a new pretty website," Filippelli said, as it adds new features and benefits to the SMB reseller marketplace.
For example, one new feature, which Filippelli called a "huge game-changer," is the track open orders option, which gives a quick tally of orders going well, ones that have encountered a problem along the way and those that need additional information to proceed. The plug-in can then be expanded (shown below) to find detailed order information.
"I always tell people bad things happen to good orders all the time. They need to be notified of that to rectify the situation," Filippelli said. "It really gives us a proactive way to communicate with customers."
Another change that solution providers will find when first entering the site is that there is more information available outside the login page. While solution providers will find their personal prices for items after logging in, it provides merchandise information and prices for customers and non-Tech Data resellers to browse. Once logging in, resellers are able to customize the collapsible plug-ins (shown below) to best assist them by removing and adding as they see fit.
In addition to an improved user interface, the site has been re-engineered on the back end to run more quickly than the previous site.
"We want to make everything about this fast, easy to do business," Filippelli said.
The site works in line with Tech Data services for SMB solution providers, including Ambassador Services for understanding the options available, Sales Services for customized sales support, and Financial Services for tailored credit options. To better access the services, the site also features a live chat option.
Launched alongside the new website is TDLoyalty, the company's first rewards program that gives additional discounts, services and prizes based on the amount of Web sales.
Solution providers have the option to stay with the original techdata.com site or do their operations through the new smb.techdata.com site. However, Filippelli said he doesn’t anticipate many not wanting to make the switch.
"So far we've have about 2,200 to 2,300 beta customers on it and no one wants the old site," Filippelli said. "Customers are hearing about it and are asking to be put into the beta program."
The site officially launches June 2 and Tech Data is inviting solution providers to start using the site between June 2 and July 14, the company said. It is available to all Tech Data SMB customers.
The capacity and platform is there to extend the new site beyond the SMB customers, but Filippelli said that for now Tech Data is focusing on the SMB market.
"These are the guys that need a much more intimate experience. They need a lot of technology," Filipelli said. "This is where in our Web strategy as we go out, we saw the biggest opportunity to really help our customers to do better business.
PUBLISHED JUNE 2, 2014