Under the new distribution deal, Sharp’s first with a full-line IT distributor in Canada, Tech Data will take on Sharp’s professional LCD displays, interactive displays, LED TVs and 4K monitors. The deal is the culmination of a long courtship, said Greg Myers, Tech Data Canada’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.
“I would tell you that we’ve been talking with them for many years, and they’ve been on our wish list for quite some time,” Myers said. “It’s not an exclusive deal, but our primary competitors don’t carry this product line. In the markets we serve, this is a unique and valuable opportunity for Tech Data Canada.”
The distributor has taken a slow-but-steady approach to building out digital signage as a value-add practice area over the last two years, and Myers sees Sharp strengthening the distributor’s business in several key markets.
The first and most obvious is the mainstream digital signage market, an area of growing focus for many solution providers. As digital signage has become an expected feature at many large retail chains, airports, malls, and other public outlets, Myers said “secondary markets” are starting to turn to the technology, making it an opportunity for smaller solution providers, particularly as the technology has become easier for many VARs to consume.
“It’s not as tactical or complex to deliver as it was even a few years ago,” Myers said.
The second opportunity Myers sees is in the boardroom and meeting rooms, where low-profile large screen displays are increasingly replacing overhead projectors as the go-to- technology for sharing slides or other content. And dovetailing on that is the third major opportunity, videoconferencing.
Sharp does require reseller authorization for its products, and Myers said the company has “done a really good job of managing their distribution and resale market from a market coverage and margin-protection point of view.” The company authorizes partners based on geographic coverage, value-add services provided, and their ability to “help Sharp accelerate in the marketplace.”
“Sharp is taking a very thoughtful approach to geographic coverage and market protection,” Myers said. “They have a traditional set of pro-AV partners, and they’re looking to add value to their distribution network.”
Key to it, says Myers, is that Sharp is largely looking for growth, as opposed to share shift, and its that search for growth partners that brought them to the IT channel, and to the distributor.