Hemant Aidasani, Vice President, Techmart recently participated in an in-depth Buyer Insider Session and shared a number of valuable insights for consumer technology brands looking for distribution partners in the Middle East.
Techmart is a value added distributor of accessory products for the GCC region. Established in 2002 as an exclusive Nokia accessory partner, the company has evolved into a multi-brand distributor serving the region’s retail channels. Techmart is headquartered in Dubai and has a number of in-country offices in countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.
Aidasani explained that Techmart does not rely on sub distributors and has an established distribution presence in each GCC country - a key consideration for brands looking for distribution partners with established in-country networks and local teams with the right expertise to handle local channel dynamics.
Techmart organises the retail market into three verticals:
Organised retail - hypermarkets, consumer electronics stores, telecom stores, category specific outlets, duty free and online stores
Independent retail - M&Ps (mom and pop stores) plus third tier supermarkets and telco stores
Strategic channel - examples include gaming stores, e-cafes, bike and toy stores. Depending on how new or niche the product is, Techmart can research and develop a new route to market through less traditional outlets
What type of brands do Techmart carry?
Techmart prefers to work with globally recognised brands and this is reflected by their portfolio of 20+ partners including WD, Razer, Huawei, PNY, Sandisk and Belkin. The majority of their vendor partners have signed exclusive agreements for the GCC region. Aidasani emphasised that their focus is very much on accessories with no plans to develop the hardware category.
What categories are Techmart looking for?
E-mobility is a growing category at Techmart with Small Domestic Appliances and Music related accessories of real interest. But if a brand approaches them with a product that does not compete with their existing partners then the door is always open to explore a potential agreement. Techmart is also open to working with startups but emphasised that the product needs to be a real game changer.
What sets Techmart apart from other distributors?
Techmart is a regional distributor but each in-country arm of the business is capable of operating independently with local supply chain systems, warehousing and specialist staff all in place. Brands interested in trialling a partnership in one or two countries can still get a premium experience and a good sense of how a regional agreement could work.
Aidasani also highlighted how highly the company values its retail relationships, citing the time and effort put in on the ground to maintain regular contact with all its retail partners.
In addition, before a product is presented to retail, Techmart follows a thorough process to check the market readiness and appetite for both the brand and proposed accessory which consequently reduces the listing fee demanded by many of their retail partners.
Techmart also offers a number of value added services ranging from the management of in store concessions to more strategic services for brands entering the region for the first time. For many years, Techmart operated an instore accessories concession in partnership with Carrefour.
The distributor is not afraid to build a story around a new category and invest the time and energy to develop new routes to market for the right brand and product. Most recently, the distributor cultivated a multifaceted campaign to support the launch of an Italian e-mobility brand in the region.
Techmart developed a go to market plan which included a e-scooter roll out to key retail partners in the region supported by a number of activations at the biggest malls in the UAE. Techmart also built a dedicated online store to showcase the full line up of brands and products in the customer’s portfolio.
The launch was supported by a social media campaign on platforms including youtube and instagram with a number of influencers and content featuring localised scenarios to demonstrate how the brand’s products can be a travel solution for everyday life scenarios.
The full interview is available to Vendor ChannelHub members only via their online account. If you are a vendor and would like to access the Buyer Insider Sessions, register now for your free ChannelHub membership.