Acer vows to lose its rep as cheap consumer tat-pusher

Bins reseller programme, rolls out new shiny B2B scheme

Acer UK has flushed away its previous channel programme after polishing off a shiny new scheme to underpin its pursuit of biz customers.

The once high-flying consumer brand, best known for punting low-cost notebooks in huge volumes, is trying to spread its tendrils in the commercial markets and needs tools to more effectively engage B2B dealers.

Nathan Knight, Acer commercial business unit manager, told The Reg: "We didn't have a functioning [B2B] programme in the past so it was difficult for resellers to get information or product feeds and speeds, they needed to go to distribution."

The Synergy Partner Programme comprises the usual tiers: Platinum for corporate dealers and SIs; Gold for mid-market focused resellers; Silver for those selling to the Small Office/Home ofc market, HPC partners, education dealers and Point Partners that flog kit to SMBs via an independent retail outlet.

Training courses, technical info and co-marketing material will be crammed into the portal and Acer will cough rebates for biz resellers for the first time.

"From a commercial perspective there wasn't a specific pot of rebates 12 months ago as we were very consumer focused but we have gone through a significant transformation in terms of leadership and philosophy," said Knight.

Consumer spending has plummeted, a trend that first emerged in Q3 2010, but Acer was slow to react and found itself awash with ageing stock last year that it was forced to write down and contributed to a loss-making 2011.

Knight said Acer had put its channel-stuffing issues of the past decade to bed: "In Q4 the [excess] inventory worked in our favour. The hard drive shortages, the macro component issues, allowed us to rapidly reduce our stock holding."

He said Acer had paid attention to business resellers' concerns about its support and warranty services, which had been more in line with consumers than businesses.

"Those were valid concerns 12 months ago," Knight claimed.

The firm has established a UK call centre to improve response times on issues including DOA, update customers on repairs via SMS or email, and run next day onsite warranty and 24/7 support.

He expects the Olympics site, "the largest green field IT site in the UK using all of our commercial products", will act as a huge advert for the brand.

Some in the channel might say that overturning its reputation as a peddler of low-cost retail gear will indeed be an Olympian feat for Acer. ®

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