The Confederation of IT association has recently requested the vendors to include channel welfare as a part of their corporate social responsibility activities.
Tamil Nadu based Confed-ITA has recently organized a vendor-partner-distributor meet where the representations from channels and vendor community were there to discuss the road ahead for the channels in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The association had their executive meet in the morning and had the vendor-partner at a private hotel in Coimbatore where the regional and state heads of various vendors and the association members participated. Unlike, their conventional meet, this meeting had the seating position where the channels and vendors were sitting in a position facing each other in a way facilitating both the parties interact with each other.
Though the agenda for the meeting had listed a variety of points for discussion, the Confed-ITA shortlisted three key areas that emerged as crucial points for a vendor-partner strategy for the future. These include:
- Service and support
- Sales promotion
- Corporate Social Responsibility
Service and training
Discussing the post-sale issue, the association put forth all the issues related to DoA, warranty -related service issues and toll-free numbers, including the vernacular language support for the customers.
It also discussed the legal issues that channels face when it comes to problems arising between customers and the partners. Stating some instances, the association said that under the Indian legal system, the seller can be sued and many are facing multiple issues even losing the hard-earned customers in the process.
The sought a clear-cut policy from the vendors where the legal matters are involved. Though there was no unanimous voice from the vendor community, the association sought to ensure that none of the vendors or partners should get squeezed by the legal issues wherein the the first level of sale is always indexed.
The association also requested the vendors to have a proper certification policies as in most of the cases, even genuine partners do not have a certificate, causing them trouble during critical situations.
On the training part, the association requested the vendors to give equal importance to partners in the smaller cities and towns instead of focusing only on the big cities. Many members raised concerns
over lack of proper training, thus rendering the channel community outdated when it comes to the product specifications and the upgrades.
The association assured the vendors that a platform would be provided for the conduct of regular technical meet (including the hands on training). With the association having different zones in the state, the vendors were told that they can make use of the opportunity to reach out to maximum partners.
With a view to protecting the members from competition from online retailers, several members expressed the view that solidarity must be maintained as e-selling was not an issue that would go off any time and the only option was to compete and conquer them. The association also put forth the key expectation that vendors must ensure some leverage for its members in terms of offers, margin protection etc. They also sought an exclusive package for the upcoming festival season.
Channel social responsibility:
According to the corporate laws, every corporate organization is supposed to spend particular amount for society. The association requested the vendors to extend their corporate social responsibility to their channel partners and their employees. The association believes that the CSR can be used for the welfare of the members, their family, employees in terms of the health and social activities.