Tech Data Canada puts new face on Web site

Tech Data Canada hopes VARs will notice a big difference in the way they can do business online after overhauling its Web site.

The broadline distributor said a new search engine and add-on product recommendation will mean making purchases will be faster and lead to added sales.

“Today close to 50 per cent of our revenue comes to us electronically,” said David Spindler, the company’s director of e-solutions and business development. Of that 20 per cent is done through the Web site, used to buy commodity products, while the rest is done either through electronic data interchange (EDI) or XML ordering.

“We’re trying to do deal with the demand of what customers are asking us for and provide it in a way that is intuitive.”

The main improvement comes from the incorporation of the Endeca search engine, which includes a thesaurus. The old search engine was unforgiving: If a user didn’t have the right spelling of a product or category, it said nothing could be found.

If a word is misspelled in Endeca it will suggest substitutes that are close to it.

In addition, it’s about six times faster than the previous search engine, said Spindler.

Endeca also includes the ability to display related products to the one being searched for. For example, a search for “CD-ROM” could show external drives, followed by laptop and server drives.

The site now takes full advantage of the catalogue’s detailed specifications that accompanies products by displaying complementary options that other buyers are also taking when they order items. For example, if a notebook is selected the site point out accessory bags or memory that are either popular or fit with the product.

Tech Data calls it the “fries with the burger strategy”: “It’s now starting to help resellers and their salespeople sell the fries within a sale,” said Spindler.

There’s also an increased emphasis on the site of product configurators offered by vendors, which are linked to Tech Data’s inventory. “We have them on our Web site, allowing the customer to do their configuration and then submit an order, which would go into the shopping cart.”

The distributor worked about eight months on putting the changes together. For those who need some time to get used to the new site, they have the choice of starting with the previous site. However after Sept. 30 the new site will be the default home page.

Spindler couldn’t say how much the overhaul cost. Nor could he guess how much extra revenue it will bring in.

“It’s a tool to assist our customers in making better buying decisions,” he said.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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