In today’s fast-paced and unpredictable business environment, adaptability and agility are key to survival. Satyarth Priyedarshi, Chief Ecommerce Officer, Redington Limited, highlights the significant transformation taking place in the technology distribution industry. Companies must be able to quickly pivot and make informed decisions while facing changing market dynamics and incomplete information.
How is Redington Ltd adapting to the digital age to improve the efficiency of its business processes within the IT distribution industry, and what impact is this having on the IT channel ecosystem?
The technology distribution industry has been undergoing a significant transformation, globally. Redington Limited, being one of the largest in the industry in India, recognizes its responsibility to drive this change. Redington aims to enhance the experience of its four key stakeholders – partners, vendors, employees, and end customers.
Redington is committed to providing its partners with a seamless ordering, credit management, and delivery process. To achieve this, Redington has leveraged the power of innovation to create a platform that caters to the diverse needs of our partners. For instance, we have introduced a “quick order” feature that enables partners to upload a file and place thousands of order lines within five minutes. We have also simplified the buying process with digital solutions like “Request for Quotes,” which reduces the need for time-consuming negotiations and phone calls.
Furthermore, Redington’s digital platform has empowered small and remote partners, providing them with the same experience as larger partners in the ecosystem. This has resulted in more partners adopting the platform. Redington is also committed to providing vendors with deeper insights into the market through digital analytics. These insights enable Redington to have more insightful conversations with vendors, ultimately benefiting the partners.
Redington’s salespeople are the lifeline of the organization, and the digital platform empowers them to work closely with partners and go beyond transactional discussions.
Finally, the end customer experience is also improving, with faster access to information, resulting in accelerated business speed. We are transforming business processes in the digital age to enhance the experience of its partners, vendors, employees, and end customers. This transformation is having a significant impact on the IT channel ecosystem, driving efficiency and innovation.
Looking forward, what are your expectations on the digital side of the business? Any changes or additions you want to make going into 2023?
Although we have already launched our MVP, we recognize that our work on the digital side of our business has only just begun. As we move forward into 2023, our focus will be on four key areas:
Experience: Our aim is to continually enhance the experience of our partners by working closely with them and soliciting feedback. We plan to use this feedback to develop the next set of tools that will simplify their interactions with us and improve their overall experience.
Ease of doing business: We work with over 80 brands, each with unique needs and processes. To meet these diverse requirements, we are continually analyzing partner and vendor processes and digitizing them. We are also replacing traditional processes with smarter workflows that enhance efficiency and productivity.
Data-based decision-making: While Redington has always been a data-led company, our new platform allows us to gain better insights into our business by analyzing temporal data. We believe that this will help us make more agile and informed decisions in the future.
Growth: Our commerce portal has already had a significant impact on our partners, with their buying behavior evolving over time. We have observed a three-fold increase in orders on weekends, indicating that our portal has fulfilled a latent need and increased flexibility for our partners. By improving efficiency through faster ordering and fulfillment, our partners can now receive their ordered stock on Monday, instead of Tuesday, resulting in an additional 52 days of buying cycle over a year. This improved efficiency has generated growth for both us and our downstream partners, and we expect this trend to continue in the future.
What is the Redington digital experience platform and how does Redington ensure that there is no conflict between its offline and online B2B models?
Redington’s digital experience platform is designed to complement its offline platform. The platform provides partners with direct access to the company’s back-end systems via an ecommerce interface. This facilitates an omnichannel experience with consistent pricing and product availability. In addition, the online platform simplifies certain mandatory processes in the offline world, such as the need for a PO.
To ensure a smooth transition to the platform, Redington conducted intensive training programs for its sales team over a period of six months. The team now possesses a deep understanding of the platform’s capabilities and is equipped to handle partner queries in addition to the on-call support team. The platform’s DIY mode is aimed at reducing the transactional load on the sales team, resulting in happier partners and sales teams. Therefore, the question of conflict between the offline and online B2B model doesn’t arise.
What investments Redington Ltd has made to help partners become more digitally fit?
We understand that our success is tied to the success of our partners. That is why we have made significant investments to help our partners become more digitally fit. Firstly, before the launch of the platform, the company built a cohort of partners and salespeople to understand their needs. Their valuable feedback was incorporated into the MVP of the platform. After the launch, Redington’s sales teams underwent extensive training and certification for six months to ensure they were equipped to support partners in using the platform. We also provide regular webinars and demos to keep partners updated on new features of the platform. The development of the platform is prioritized based on active partner feedback obtained through weekly training sessions, following an agile methodology.
In addition to the above, we offer an open channel to assist partners who are building or planning to build their own digital platforms. Through this channel, they can leverage our experience from the e-commerce front on tech selection and other decisions.
How Redington is digitally powering its small retailers and resellers in the tier 3 markets
Redington has been able to empower small retailers and resellers in tier 3 markets through their digital initiatives. They have ensured that their partner cohort caters to the specific requirements of these markets. In addition to this, their online platform has made it easy for partners, regardless of their size or geographic location, to access Redington’s offerings.
This democratization of access has been well-received by partners, especially those from small and medium businesses and tier 3 markets. Redington’s online platform has enabled partners with low purchase capability to manage their credit better, buy materials in smaller quantities, and free up working capital for additional growth. Furthermore, their CUG card financing option provides partners with additional credit beyond what Redington can offer, which helps accelerate their business growth.
Any best practices, industry trends, or advice you’d give to your partners?
To our partners, I believe it is crucial to always keep your customers in mind when building your tech and business models. As industry trends are moving towards experiential buying, including augmented reality, video, and 360 product views, as well as MACH development, which offers greater flexibility, scalability, and agility, it’s important to stay updated and implement these trends where necessary.
In today’s rapidly changing and unpredictable business environment, businesses must be agile and adaptable to survive. This means being able to pivot quickly in response to changing market conditions and making decisions despite incomplete information.
Therefore, my advice to our partners is to remain open to new ideas and ways of doing business to succeed in this dynamic industry. Being receptive to new ideas and adapting accordingly will enable businesses to navigate through the ever-changing market conditions effectively.