ESD: meeting the needs of the channel and customers alike| #B2BTech


Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) has seen significant growth over the past few years, and the channel, in particular, is increasingly using this delivery mechanism in order to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The need to reduce operating costs, the need to empower end-customers with self-serviceability and the need to increase profitability have been the primary drivers of this shift in how software distribution operates.

Physical delivery adds a significant cost and unnecessary time delay in getting customers their software. By providing a system which allows intuitive, immediate access to software as well as an effective means to notify and provide immediate access to updates, ESD facilitates smoother and quicker sales to channel partners as well as end users.

In today’s competitive climate, distributors need to improve delivery time to resellers and get products to customers faster. With consumers spending more and more time online, and confidence in digitally delivered products is on the rise, this is the perfect time to offer this service.

Vendors are also moving away from box delivery of their software to a digital model. The ESD model – when done right – is a collaboration between distributors, customers and vendors. ESD allows for same day digital delivery to clients, and the platform benefits resellers as they no longer have to carry large quantities of inventory or wait for boxes to arrive. The download process is instant, so resellers can respond in real-time to their customers’ requests.


By taking a closer look at how to meet customer expectations and protect revenue when delivering software, the channel can simplify software distribution and achieve two key goals: Make downloads easy and fast for users, and increase the accuracy of licensing to protect revenue. The powerful sophistication of today’s electronic software delivery solutions has increased their popularity as a means to achieve these goals.

The lower cost of sales has also been a big motivator for resellers to adopt white labelled ESD platforms for their customers. Customers can buy products when they want at a time that is convenient for them and save money over packaged goods, while resellers can increase inventory management with lowered inventory costs.

In addition, this type of solution offers agility, transparency, diversity, dynamic pricing, widening of audience reach, and full accessibility through online technologies. Many of the website and portal services that have been available locally have been heavily US-centric. And while many of the larger brands have installed mirror sites, these have often been just that, mirror sites, repainted on the outside but the same US- or Euro-centric content on the inside. Ask any South African consumer who has tried to purchase a product on a .com site, where pricing is in dollars and shipping locally is often impossible.

Local ESD platforms are therefore on the rise. With the breadth of products and services now available, it is easy for the channel to keep adding to the ecosystem in order to increase reach. However, without a specialised approach, this can lead t

o inefficiencies. Local ESD platforms offer a licensing and installation model designed specifically to address the needs of re-sellers and customers alike.

Behind the Scenes

Security and Wireless Networking channel giant First for Phoenix was formed as the result of a merger between two of Africa’s largest specialist distributors: First Technology and Phoenix Distribution. The company is a Value Added distributor of security software and wireless networking products across the African continent.

First For Phoenix has several offices across Africa and the UK, providing its customers with top products and solutions, including Kaspersky, McAfee, Krone (now known as Commscope), Cyberoam, GFI, Acronis, Stratus, Ruckus, TP-Link and D-Link.

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