Westcoast expands into ‘unfamiliar markets’ to support resellers

Westcoast expands into ‘unfamiliar markets’ to support resellers

Westcoast is expanding its services to support businesses that are being ‘forced out of their
comfort zones’.

Darren Seaward, head of mobile at Westcoast explained to Mobile that companies need to familiarise themselves with a broader range of services. The IT distributor recently partnered with Shire Leasing to provide alternative financing to resellers, an area it feels will help them add value to their business.

He said: ‘For us, it’s about teaching customers about new and unfamiliar markets, bringing them on the journey, doing training and doing a variety of services. For a customer to have the facilities to do that themselves would cost them a lot. The market is moving and it’s moving towards adding value to customers. If it’s just about having something on the shelf at the price, it’s very easy to get into a price conversation. Some might just want the best price but we’re here to support customers so they can concentrate on selling and we can make it easier for them.

‘If you look at telcos such as EE, O2 and Vodafone, they’re very much looking to expand what they do outside the airtime, by selling office or MDM solutions, so there’s a big push from the telcos, as there is from the IT reseller and dealer. Traditional IT resellers may not understand airtime, so we’re looking to help the IT channel with that and vice versa, so we would look to help them with maximising IT solutions, Office 365 and cloud services – we’re helping both sides.

‘Westcoast is targeting mid-market resellers and SMEs. We’ve partnered with Shire because of its ‘click to finance’ solutions, which resellers can use when they’re out in the field. It might be a barrier to getting the sale, so this alternative financing makes it easier to complete a deal. Shire has a team to support resellers as well as the ecommerce tools, and for some people it’s a new way of working.’

Seaward believes that the convergence of IT into the mobile market is pushing resellers out of their comfort zones. He explained that Westcoast will focus on merging IT with the mobile side of the business, claiming it is becoming a trend in the market.

He added: ‘IT convergence has been a buzz word for a few years, right back from when the operators were trying to work with resellers to sell them data and mobile when out and about. It’s really come on in leaps and bounds over the past 12 months, as you see more and more go towards the cloud. Microsoft has made a big push towards cloud revenues, and now it has moved into devices.

‘Microsoft is pushing one way and the telcos are pushing the other way, so mobile dealers now sell office 365 and they might not be used to doing that or have the expertise to do so. When an end user buys a phone it’s because they have a business need, they want to transform their business. As devices get bigger, IT and mobile are merging. We’re moving towards mobile and people in mobile are moving towards IT. It’s certainly a trend in our business and in our customer’s businesses; they’re being forced out of their comfort zones.

‘We’re having certain conversations at the moment but everything we’re looking to do is concerned with adding IT services onto the mobile side. We deal with a lot of the big retailers and package the stock the way they need it. We’re looking at areas that are more specific to the mobile device, with airtime and recycling, more MDM vendors and insurance. It’s about expanding out and it is about adding that value around the device and giving the reseller the ability to make more margins, because ultimately, that’s what they’re in it for.'


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