Richard Watters, Purchasing Director for Esquire shared a detailed insight into an evolving market and how the Esquire business serves its network of dealers and resellers across the country.
Esquire is a distributor of digital and lifestyle products for Southern Africa. Established in 1999, Esquire distributes to 9500 dealers, resellers and small retailers with 65% of its business coming from the dealer base. Esquire has offices set up in all of the key regions in South Africa.
Watters pointed out that each office is capable of operating independently and providing full service requirements in key areas of marketing, sales, client and customer support, plus stock management. This level of organisation makes it easier for Esquire to both reach and work more effectively with the many dealers and small retailers spread across the country.
Esquire also supplies dealers and resellers in the surrounding SADIC countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini) through a network of in-country partners. Watters highlighted that the SADIC market was a growing area of the Esquire business.
9 years ago, Esquire established its own B2B outlet called ‘Xpress’ - a retail style space where dealers can get hands on with products in their portfolio and purchase onsite. The outlets are open 6 days a week, and set up at each of the Esquire offices. Esquire also has a number of private label products including web cams, speakers and mice.
With consumers and businesses becoming more online savvy, Watter pointed out that there are a growing number of small retailers moving their businesses online. In response to this trend, Esquire launched the Virtual Reseller Network - a ‘ready to go’ web store template for reseller partners that want to start selling Esquire distributed products online.
The customisable sites are hosted by Esquire and require minimal input and management by the customer. New products are listed automatically and the reseller can filter what products and categories are displayed on their site to keep it tailored to their customer base. The VRN also means that esquire can react quickly to trending categories and make them available to their customers easily and efficiently. 300 resellers are using the service and Esquire aims to have 750 resellers online by the end of 2023. All stock is managed centrally by Esquire.
Brands carried by Esquire
The Esquire product portfolio covers a number of categories in the ICT and digital lifestyle space ranging from gaming to PC accessories and peripherals. Brands in the portfolio include Asus, Dell, LG, Razer, Samsung and Microsoft. Watters pointed out that the company prefers to have no more than 3 brands per category so they can maximise their vendor partnerships, and work with them to grow their business in the market. Exclusivity is not an essential requirement and decisions are taken on a case by case basis.
What are they looking for?
Mobile accessories is a category of interest but Watters highlighted that the market is quite saturated in South Africa with added complication arising from the grey market and pop up malls selling cheaper versions of branded products. While there is opportunity, it can be a challenge to manage vendor expectations when it comes to ROI and performance.
Esquire has no minimum requirement for vendors in terms of size and the focus is very much on the potential of the product when it comes to evaluating potential partners.
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