Data Select held its sixth Platinum Club dealer conference last Thursday (25 June), which Mobile gained exclusive access to.
The programme is recognised as an essential event for the top dealers and manufacturers, and Data Select now wants to enlist more top dealers.
Platinum Club was born out of a conversation between Data Select’s marketing chief, Jason Kemp, commercial chief Roy Taylor and LG’s head of retail and distribution, Steve Fraser. Fraser is reputed to have suggested access to a VIP group of dealers to show future handsets and discuss ideas with. The three men were bemoaning the lack of such a dealer event.
Data Select then got to work to make the vision a reality. Last week’s conference held in Milton Hill House hotel, Didcot, was the latest event, with manufacturers hearing the uncensored views from expert dealers on the frontline, who are not afraid to make their views known. It also brought the arrival of new manufacturers such as Acer and Doro. It comes as Data Select’s fiercest rival, 20:20 Mobile, looks to ape Data’s Platinum Club with its own version.
Hands-on handset sessions
Data Select’s dealer members gathered for a day of presentations and hands-on sessions with established manufacturers as well as the new entrants.
HTC’s presentation of its range of business handsets and the HTC Hero was a first for the event, as well as the introduction of the Doro, specialising in phones for people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.
Sony Ericsson, headline sponsor of the event, showcased a range of products that it hopes to launch in the run-up to Christmas, and dealers saw the devices at close quarters.
Simon Beech, head of retail and distribution at Sony Ericsson, says that the aim of the day was to ‘share products with customers we don’t normally deal with directly’.
He continues: ‘It helps us to be in touch and get to know them better,
and is a chance to get direct feedback on the products.’
Dealer numbers swell from 19 to 45
Seasoned members, who have been part of the initiative since its launch in October 2007, attended the meeting as well as prospective dealers.
When the loyalty scheme was first launched it had a membership of 19 dealers, but has since grown to 45.
The exclusive club provides a variety of benefits to its dealers, such as marketing support, partnership price plans and training.
The distributor has secured members from across the dealer spectrum, including specialist b2b dealers interested in convergence, online operations and niche entrepreneurial outfits.
Data Select predominantly deals with handsets and accessories, and was the first distributor to set up an elite club to secure a loyal client base.
The relationship between the distributor and its dealers is based on sales volumes and the quality of business.
Jason Kemp, head of marketing at Data Select, says: ‘It helps them to plan their business and creates some loyalty. We look after loyal customers and the benefits are proportional to what they buy.’
After the presentations had finished, delegates and staff from Data Select relaxed together by going to the dog races.