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CRN Exclusive: Retail Heavyweight Adorama Launches B2B Solutions Segment Offering Consultation, Support Services

Adorama, a longtime consumer-focused purveyor of camera and film equipment, is promising to significantly expand its revamped business solutions segment over the next two years.

Camera and film equipment giant Adorama plans to make significant investments into the continued expansion of its business-to-business division, Adorama Business Solutions (ABS), after discovering a serious desire for pre- and post-sale support among existing clients.

For more than 40 years, the New York-based retailer has focused on selling to consumers as a channel partner of major camera makers, as well as electronics giants such as Dell, HP and Xerox. But ABS, which Adorama said has experienced sizable year-over-year growth, will receive an influx of resources and attention as the company seeks additional revenue opportunities in the space.

"We believe by further differentiating from Adorama's consumer brand and having customers understand what Adorama Business Solutions provide can help us grow at an even faster pace," said ABS senior vice president of sales John Kaloukian.

[Related: Best Buy Stops Dabbling In Managed Services, Sells mindSHIFT To Ricoh]

Hired two years ago, Kaloukian brings more than 20 years of B2B-focused sales and marketing experience to the table, with key roles held at powerhouse manufacturers Sony and Panasonic. With his guidance, Adorama has structured its B2B division around consultation, procurement and support.

ABS also features a professional services team, Technical Services, that can provide clients with product expertise and industry insight. Overseen by engineering veteran Ed DeLauter, the ABS Technical Services team's suite of services includes audiovisual integration, installation and troubleshooting capabilities.

Armed with those capabilities, Adorama will center its B2B push around the corporate, government and education spaces, and within those the company will target smaller "sub-verticals" such as broadcast production, law enforcement, sports venues and houses of worship.

A sweeping customer survey conducted by Adorama "legitimized" the need to provide clients with consulting and support services, Kaloukian said, and allows the company to differentiate itself in the market.

"Customers have choices these days," Kaloukian said. "They know they can go and shop for the best price through various resellers, hoping they have the inventory and the best price. We believe this gives us an extra edge over what our competition does, but more importantly we serve (clients) better by offering this type of service."

ABS, which declined to disclose the exact number of employees on staff, intends to beef up the size of its team amid expansion planned over the next two years. However, Kaloukian believes the division has enough resources in place to begin driving significant business immediately.

The go-to-market strategy will prioritize customer intimacy and feature marketing campaigns directed toward each of its target verticals – a departure from Adorama's historically "broad strokes" marketing approach, he said. Chris Dunne, senior manager of ABS Marketing, cited a web site redesign and a resource-centric content push as ways Adorama is emphasizing the importance of its B2B offerings.

Kaloukian, who has worked to develop ABS for nearly two years, said past experiences have provided him with a good understanding of the B2B market and a clear path down which he can direct Adorama. He admitted the increased emphasis on selling to businesses will require a different sort of mental approach – a hurdle that other retailers have struggled to clear – but expressed confidence that the finished product will be "really powerful."

"We've really put things into place to take it to the next level," he said.

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