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Tech Data to Personalize E-Commerce, Drive Renewals, Special Price Purchasing Through Trackers

Through analytics, the distributor plans to offer users of its e-commerce portal an experience aligned to their purchase and search history.

Tech Data plans to leverage analytics to provide users of its e-commerce portal with an experience better aligned to their purchase and search history.

The Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor is also enjoying much higher activity around renewals and special price purchases since rolling out trackers for both fields over the past year, according to David Spindler, Tech Data’s director of eBusiness.

’I no longer can provide one website that fits everybody,’ Spindler told CRN on Wednesday at Tech Data’s TechSelect Spring Partner Conference in Tucson, Ariz. ’I’ve got to use analytics to ultimately help me drive what my purchasers need to see from Tech Data.’

[Related: Tech Data Unveils New Group To Capitalize On Being Only Distributor Carrying Dell, EMC And VMware]

Tech Data’s investment in persona creation is attempting to figure out what information a user truly needs and how the distributor can provide it to the user quickly while still keeping it insightful, Spindler said. Even within a particular reseller, the information one is looking to glean from Tech Data’s e-commerce portal can vary dramatically based on the individual user’s role in the company, he said.

’A purchaser needs different information in the market than a salesperson,’ Spindler said.

Tech Data’s persona push is intended to be dynamic, Spindler said, meaning the distributor hopes to use search history -- an area of focus this year -- to anticipate what the user would be interested in without having to ask the user for his or her job role.

Tech Data also intends to put information up on vendors the distributor doesn’t even carry as well as products on the distributor’s line card that could be purchased instead. If Tech Data sees that a particular vendor is constantly being requested in the portal, the distributor could look into adding the vendor to its portfolio, said Ryan McKenzie, manager of Tech Data’s eBusiness Americas unit.

Users also have the option of customizing the layout for their own Tech Data portal, McKenzie said, and can readjust the website should their role within the solution provider change.

McKenzie said Tech Data has also seen activity around special pricing agreements double since introducing My S.P.A. (Special Pricing Agreement) tracker last year, which provides proactive notifications to users of when Tech Data has received special pricing from a vendor as well as when special pricing is about to expire on an item that a user has expressed interest in.

Additional business generated from My S.P.A. Tracker greatly exceeded the distributor’s expectations, according to McKenzie. Tech Data thought it would take a year to hit its multimillion-dollar special pricing activity goal, but McKenzie said the distributor needed just a quarter to hit that figure.

A quarter ago, Tech Data also introduced renewal source, which automatically notifies partners when a warranty, software or licensing renewal opportunity exists within its customer base.

’We do all the heavy lifting so that it’s easy for [the partner] to transact,’ Spindler said.

Tech Data is working with 10 vendors around renewal source, including HP Inc., Symantec, Veritas and Autotask, McKenzie said. Renewal source will let partners know about renewals coming up in 30, 60 or 90 days around those vendors to make it easier for partners to turn a quote into an actual renewal.

’Let’s be honest -- a reseller earns 3 points off a $100 renewal,’ Spindler said. ’It’s not worth their effort [if they have to do it on their own].’

The amount of eBusiness that Finger Lakes Technology Group conducts with Tech Data has grown as the distributor has improved the portal, according to Paul Nikitas, vice president of sales for the Victor, N.Y.-based solution provider.

Finger Lakes Technology uses the eBusiness offering mainly for ordering, stocking and shipping, but Nikitas knows there’s so much money his company can take advantage of once Finger Lakes’ systems are better integrated with Tech Data’s systems.

Although Finger Lakes Technology Is not looking to become Amazon, Nikitas said, he knows his business could benefit from making purchasing easier for customers.

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