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WD drives channel sales in EMEA

by Stuart Wilson, Saturday 7 February 2009

WD will continue to drive the expansion and coverage of its distribution channel for branded products across EMEA at DISTREE XXL. WD, which has carved out a powerful position in the external hard drive solutions segment, will meet with both existing and potential partners to ensure that its routes-to-market are effective and provide sufficient market penetration.

Didier Trassaert, senior director of branded products EMEA at WD, said:“It is clear that DISTREE XXL opens up the opportunity for us to meet a large number of potential customers from across EMEA, using a format that is faster and more efficient than spending months traveling across the region to meet them all one by one. Not only can we meet potential partners, we can also use the event to meet up with our existing ones.”

“A large percentage of our business occurs through the indirect channel and we are very interested in the potential shown in growth markets such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe. What is important for us now is to ensure that we have the appropriate distribution coverage across all geographies,” he added.

WD works closely with its distribution partners across EMEA to make sure that retail partners have adequate choice and support,

“We want to offer choice in each market by working with a minimum of two distributors. It is important that these distributors are familiar, not only with the product category, but also with the major players in the retail channel,” added Trassaert.

“We don’t just rely on distributors to create demand – that is also our job. What we have to make sure is that all the logistics capabilities required are available in the channel. We have seen the channel becoming slightly more cautious about carrying inventory in recent months,” he continued.

“The external hard drive solutions market is growing quickly. In Western and Eastern Europe this sector is actually growing faster than internal drives. When selling to retailers, it is important to assess the consumers they attract, and supply the right products in terms of capacity and simplicity,” explained Trassaert.

New channels are opening up new opportunities for WD in the EMEA region – including the growing influence of online sales.

“We are seeing e-retailers growing. It is important to understand that we now have pure e-retailers and also those that have both a bricks and mortar and an online presence. While physical retailers have limited shelf space, the e-retailers do not face this problem – they can sell all the SKUs available,” said Trassaert. “We are very pleased with the brand awareness that WD has achieved in the external hard drive segment. We are first in the UK and France and second in Germany.”

Globally, branded products accounted for 22% of WD’s hard drive revenue in the quarter ending December 2008, compared with 18% a year earlier. This equated to global sales of US$396m for branded products.

DISTREE XXL attracts distributors from across EMEA, including delegates from emerging markets such as the Middle East, Africa, Russia & CIS. The event serves vendors that are new to the region as well as those looking to expand or deepen their distribution reach. More than 400 distribution executives and representatives from 100-plus vendors are poised to attend this year’s DISTREE XXL.

Final applications for DISTREE XXL are still being accepted from distributors and vendors that meet the qualifying criteria. If you wish to participate in EMEA’s premier distribution conference and attend an event that delivers genuine business value, please contact fhemraj@distree.com

Find out more at www.distree.com/xxl

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