The COVID -19 crisis and subsequent worldwide lockdown turned the global economy upside down. First of its kind, the global pandemic led to closedown of businesses across the countries. In India too, many businesses and industries severely impacted due to the sudden business closure and temporarily discontinued their operations. The IT hardware channel industry was one of the most affected industries and incurred huge losses during the initial months of the lockdown. However, the industry was quick to bounce back with new synergy. The credit goes to the channel partners who took enormous efforts to keep the business up and running. Customer connects, innovative marketing approach and support from industry stakeholders were key attributes to their victory over the crisis.
While the lockdown put several restrictions on the physical movement, channel partners focused on re-defining their customers’ relations through innovative means of communications. Partners made sure that they were in constant touch with their potential customers. “We strengthened our connection with customers through various means of communication. This helped us to do business even during lockdown”, said Mr.Mazhar Patel, Director, JBA Infosolutions Private Limited.
Partners also focused on building long term strong relationships with customers. “As not much business was happening in April, May and June, we decided to strengthen our relations with customers so that when the lockdown is lifted, they will first remember us for their requirements”, said Mr. Nichay Gupta, Director of DataForce.
Partners also leveraged the power of social media to expand their customer base. “We decided to utilise the power of digital means to tap potential customers. Social Media/Email marketing/Whatsapp played a big role in creating a buzz about our offers among existing and new customers”, said Mr. Bobby, Director of A.S. Enterprises.
Whereas, Mr. Mukesh Sinha, Associate Director, Om Sai Corporation said, “All our sales executives kept a regular touch with customers and also requested them to refer potential business inquiries to us. Also, we are prioritized after-sales service to satisfy our customers and fulfil their grievances amicably.”
Digital is the new normal and partners are also getting familiar with the new way of business. Also, value addition has gained much more prominence during these times and hence, partners are now shifting from conventional box selling to service-oriented business for sustainable growth. Experts say the trend will continue and more partners will turn to solutions selling.
The support from brands and national distributors was key for partners to sail through the crisis. The flexibility they offered in terms of credit, payment and inventory helped partners to bring their business back on the track. “Timely material availability by brands and payment support from distributors helped us continue business during the lockdown”, said Mr.Amit Shah, Director of TechnetInformatiques.
Prakash Vaswani, Director of Crescent Technologies, thanked NDs for their support in credit and inventory management. “Distributors have been very cooperative especially during the lockdown. Despite financial year-end, distributors provided huge support, though they have been under huge pressure from brands”, he said.