Johannesburg, 26 Jan 2024
Leading value-added distributor First Distribution is making it easier for its Dell reseller partners to get quotes, check inventory and order products with the launch of the FDOnline platform in 2023, the company says.
“With everyone moving to buying online, First Distribution has decided to join the trend and build our own online platform,” says Engela Minnaar, Dell CSG Brand Manager at First Distribution.
The platform works like an e-commerce site or marketplace, with all Dell Technologies Client Solutions Group (CSG) products listed and searchable by category, description, specification or SKU. And now the platform includes all Dell Technologies Infrastructure Solutions too.
“We have designed FDOnline with the best possible user experience in mind,” says Minnaar. “We recognise that the easier it is to use, the more the platform will be used.”
Melissa Sinclair, Dell CSG Brand Operations at First Distribution, explains that users in the digital age expect convenience. “So we have jumped on the online purchase trend with an online platform that is easy to navigate.”
Indeed, the team modelled the look and feel of FDOnline on the most popular e-commerce sites, including the features that customers have come to expect.
FDOnline will also recommend similar products or give resellers an option to add peripherals. They can choose to add memory, as an example, and the system will specify what components are compatible with the chosen product.
The FDOnline B2C (business-to-consumer) site can be viewed by anyone, displaying promotional information, product specifications and availability. Once a reseller signs up, they get access to a greater depth of information, including pricing and inventory levels.
Signing up is easy. Resellers insert www.fdonline.store into their browser. From there, they can click on 'request online account'. After verification, their application is processed and the account is set up.
Minnaar explains that access is granted to different people in the reseller organisation depending on their role. Salespeople will have access to a wealth of sales information, while those in procurement will be matched up to the procurement portal.
Once the FDOnline team has set up their profiles, partners have instant access to FDOnline.
The platform can be accessed from any device and is mobile-friendly so resellers can engage from anywhere.
“And, because it sits on our ERP system, the portal synchronises every few seconds, giving partners near-real-time access to our stock on hand and pricing 24/7,” Minnaar points out.
The biggest benefit to using FDOnline is the fact that partners are kept updated on the latest promotions, pricing discounts and Dell incentives, says Sinclair.
“FDOnline gives them the ability to effectively make their purchasing decisions and aids them in their order planning.
“Because stocking information is readily available, along with value-added features such as returns and warranty requests, our users can do everything in one place. This gives our partners convenience anytime, anywhere and that is one of the motivating factors for us,” Sinclair adds.
Resellers engage with the platform online, but that doesn’t mean they lose the support and service they expect from First Distribution.
“We have a mail alias – firstname.lastname@example.org – and mails will be actioned by the webstore team if there are any queries or order cancellations,” says Minnaar. “We are also still available via phone during working hours to help partners with any queries.”
The team plans to consistently add new and innovative features to the portal, including the ability for resellers to build their own marketplaces, to ensure it continues to meet partners’ needs.
FDOnline is currently available to South African resellers and will be expanded to include the SADC region in the near future.
First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Our offering includes a product portfolio of global leading Datacenters, Cloud, Networking, and Security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors. The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff to support and manage vendors with an unrivaled level of expertise, ensures that our partners have the key elements required for success. First Distribution additionally hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa, allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.
For queries about FD Online or to learn how to join up, contact email@example.com