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Ingram's Choice Advantage Program Ready To Roll

Ingram's 20,000 solution providers will soon be asked to choose one of three levels for pricing and support as part of its Choice Advantage program.

Choice Advantage was launched in June with a group of 800 solution providers and requires that solution providers choose one of three tiers of service and pricing from the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor.

"We've seen promising results and gained a great deal of knowledge from our initial roll-out. Now we're ready to take Choice Advantage mainstream to more than 20,000 customers nationwide," said Kevin Murai, president of Ingram Micro, in a statement.

Ingram Micro announced the expansion of Choice Advantage at CMP Media's Xchange event in Chicago this week.

The three levels are Independent Choice, which offers the lowest in product pricing but very little service; Active Choice, which offers higher prices but access to more services; and Professional Choice, which offers the highest prices but the most services. Solution providers can customize the choices from a menu of options for more technical and sales support services, according to the company.

Also at Xchange, Ingram Micro announced it has created a content management system called SpecSource in which solution providers can gain access to product information such as photos, descriptions, specifications and part numbers.

The distributor's previous content delivery system was TechNotes, which offered information in a downloadable static format, said Justin Crotty, Ingram Micro's senior director of customer marketing and program development at Ingram Micro.

"One of the biggest votes of confidence for [SpecSource] is that we use to power our internal Ingram Micro e-commerce site and users will get all the information that our sales team uses," Crotty said.

SpecSource comes in three offerings: introductory for $4,500 per year, intermediate for $24,900 per year, and premium, targeted at larger e-commerce and e-tailer companies, at $49,900 per year.

Solution providers are billed on a quarterly basis, Crotty said.

"The three differ in functionality and have different means of support. The high-end package also includes parametric search technology," he said. For example, if a solution provider searched for an IBM Thinkpad x40, the results would filter out all generic results in favor of the the accessories and parts compatible with that specific model, Crotty said.

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