Tech Data Canada has added new online services so resellers can find and buy products easier without having to phone staff for help.

“”We’ve taken our sales people from order takers to order makers,”” said David Spindler, the company’s director of business development and e-solutions.

Approved

resellers using the techdata.ca Web site can now

  • pay for orders with credit cards online;
  • see their complete account history;
  • produce electronic quotes from Tech Data’s inventory database with their own logo,
  • fill out online information needed from vendors for government-related sales; and
  • find detailed information on 45,000 products.

Also recently launched was a new version of its LION tool, a software licence configuration tool backed by 11 vendors.

The new product data, with photos, is supplied through a deal with CNet, a U.S.-based information technology supplier.

Coming later this year will be e-invoicing (giving resellers the ability to pay from a bank account), and the ability to feed product data directly to resellers’ Web sites so their customers can view it.

“”Tech Data has invested a few million dollars in developing these tools for our customers, enabling us to provide better service and reduce our costs,”” said Spindler.

Already 40 per cent of the company’s transactions are done electronically – either through the Web site or electronic data interchange (EDI), he said. With these and other improvements the company hopes to boost that this year to 55 per cent.

Spindler says his offering is better than Ingram Micro Canada’s. “”They have a superb e-commerce department for sure,”” he said. But, he said that while Ingram added CNet product data first, Tech Data is first to let customers integrate that data to their sites.

“”We feel our Web site is the same if not better from an enhancement and functionality perspective,”” he said.

Officials from Ingram disagree. “”All of that functionality we’ve had in Canada for some time,”” said Jez Fletcher, the company’s senior manager of Web development. But he agreed Tech Data is first with the ability of customers to use the distributors’ product data with their own logos on their orders.

“”We constantly poll our customers,”” he added, “”and the response is that Ingram Micro’s site is preferred because it’s easier to do business on it.””

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