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Epson, InFocus, NEC and ViewSonic all attribute their relative success to their established channel partnerships. NEC has been relying on the distribution channel to get its products to resellers and it has proven beneficial.
"When you look at the projector space, the distribution channel has grown year-after-year," said NEC's Yanke. "Since we can't reach everybody to provide the inventory, resellers and integrators especially help."
Volpe also strongly emphasizes the importance of establishing a relationship with VARs.
"We want to make sure we balance the channel and our products," said Volpe. "We want our channel partners to have the opportunity to make profits with us and build a long-term business with us."
Founded six years ago, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Classroom Technology Solutions has since been partners with ViewSonic.
"Initially the choice was easy -- we needed a partner and ViewSonic answered the call," said Martin. ViewSonic is an extremely friendly partner for us. We know how their system works; they are quick to react and have special pricings through the channel."
Currently, ViewSonic's go-to-market strategy includes leveraging distributor partners such as Ingram, Synnex, Tech Data and ASI. The company offers two partner programs: the Finch Club partner program and the ProAV Certified program. Partner programs include online training, webinars, special pricing and benefits designed to increase profitability.
"The Finch Club Partner program provides an innovative, diversified product portfolio and access to valuable tools to grow a business profitably," said Volpe. "The ProAV Certified program is specifically designed to support certified audio visual dealers to gain quarterly rebates."
Epson currently has the Brighter Futures program for education customers, which allows for additional warranty and special pricing. This program also applies to channel partners that work with education customers.
And the Deal Registration Program, according to Gunduz, rewards reseller partners who invest their time and resources into showcasing Epson projection solutions. To participate in this program, VARs must sign up, demonstrate the Epson projector, and ship the product within 120 days of the date Epson approves deal registration. Once the criteria is met, resellers are granted an exclusive discount on select projectors, including the PowerLite Pro G Series, Pro Z series and BrightLink 455Wi.
"If channel partners bring a new deal to us, we give them additional discounts on selected products," said Gunduz. "They are able to get another 10 percent margin and increase profitability."
Volpe states that over the last three years, he has been continuing to see trends grow even though market data shows the projector market as soft. According to the PMA Research report, there are sharply rising sales in China, India and Latin America.
"There are growing worldwide shipments of projectors in emerging markets of India, Latin America, Russia and Asia," said ViewSonic's Volpe. "If you dig deeper and peel the onion back, in the Americas there is growth in new technologies that are interactive and immersive, and [ViewSonic] expects to continue to grow our projection business."