FDOnline launches with Dell CSG portfolio
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.
“With everyone moving to buying online, FD 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 Client Solutions Group (CSG) products listed and searchable by category, description, specification or SKU.
“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 it 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, for example, and the system will specify what components are compatible with the chosen product.
“By including the features consumers are accustomed to in the consumer space, FDOnline is very easy to navigate and use,” Minnaar adds.
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 as well as pricing and inventory levels.
Signing up is easy: partners simply register on the site, after which their application is processed and set up.
Minnaar explains that access is granted to different people in the reseller organisation depending on their role: so salespeople will have access to a wealth of sales information, while those in procurement will be matched up to the procurement portal.
“Once we have 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-realtime 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, news, online vouchers, 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.”
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.”
At launch, all Dell CSG (Client Solution Group) products are available on FDOnline, and this will soon be expanded to include Dell ISG (Infrastructure Solutions Group) products.
“At the end of the day, we would like to open the platform for all Stock and Sell departments within FD,” Minnaar adds.
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.