A new business-to-business web portal has been launched which claims to sell commodity IT products at lower rates than have been available in the Irish market.
Located at www.itquotes.ie, the site sells products such as desktops, laptops, displays, printers and networking switches from a range of leading manufacturers.
The portal is run by Dublin-based Technology First, a group which also operates the service provider business trading as Wireless Networks Ireland. According to Joe Finucane, sales director with Technology First, there is more variety in pricing to be had by checking from a range of sources across Ireland, the UK, continental Europe and the US. “We found differences of up to 12pc on some products and generally about 7-8pc on many of them,” said Finucane. “We’re trying to offer an IT distribution cost model to the end user.”
Technology First does not hold products in stock itself. In many cases, it simply places the order on the customer’s behalf — the product is then shipped directly to its final destination from the distributor’s warehouse. All hardware is guaranteed and has full warranties, Finucane added. “We have tightly managed our costs; we should be well under the reseller margins,” he said.
Before setting up the site, Technology First conducted market research with 152 IT purchasing executives in Ireland, across the corporate and SME sectors. Based on the survey feedback, the portal will offer three value propositions: if ITQuotes fails to respond to a request for quotation within four working hours of receiving it, the equipment will be supplied free up to the value of €25,000. Secondly, if a customer finds the same product somewhere else for a cheaper price, ITQuotes will refund double the difference. In addition, deliveries on all shipments to Ireland and the UK are free of charge.
Finucane claimed that in the past some IT buyers were happy to pay slightly more for products because of the comfort factor in buying from an established reseller. “That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. IT purchasers are being instructed to make savings; they have targets in terms of the discounts they can achieve,” he said.
ITQuotes.ie has set up a team of hardware and software sales and procurement staff to manage all requests for quotation. The operation will be run from the Technology First Group’s offices in Citywest Business Campus. Later today the company will launch a UK version of the site.
By Gordon Smith