What is a Value-Added Reseller?

Perhaps your business is used to working with manufacturers directly, or you’ve been using value-added reseller services for some time. The definition of “value-added reseller” can vary from one place to the next, so let’s break down the meaning and see how a successful VAR should operate. Allbusiness.com defines a value-added resellers as

“Companies that combine computer components to build complete systems […] In addition to selling hardware and software, most resellers also offer strategic planning, system design, implementation, training, asset tracking, technical support, wiring, database development, Web development, consulting and research. For smaller businesses, a VAR is generally the vendor of choice for designing, setting up and implementing customized computer systems.”

So what we’re looking at is a company that sells existing products with some form of “added value” that is designed for a certain type of customer. Ideally, this value places the reseller into a partnership role with businesses, working on strategy long after the point of sale— strategies like preventative cost-reduction and keeping a finger on the industry’s pulse, seeking any new developments that might be in their client’s interest. Working as a partner, an effective value-added reseller will always act in the interest of client strategy, even at the expense of their own profit.

Why is this a benefit?

One of the strongest benefits offered by a value-added reseller is just plain insight. With a constant eye on the wider market, a value-added reseller can develop their own snapshot of how like businesses operate, and then apply this knowledge and experience to their partners who, in turn, don’t have to earn this wisdom the hard way.

Simply put, a business partnered with a VAR has access to all the insight that the VAR has gained working with similar businesses, providing a competitive advantage and allowing for faster growth—the VAR could recognize an overlooked or undervalued hardware or software supplement that has worked well for businesses in the same field.

Greenleaf Hospitality Group in Kalamazoo, MI, gained value from their VAR partnership on an endeavor that would have otherwise been a slow and convoluted effort, putting their new technology into their hands faster. Greenleaf’s IT director Michael Cross later remarked:

“Doing it ourselves would have been possible, but there were a lot of ‘gotcha’ moments that would have delayed our efforts. Having Newmind Group involved helped us plan and get those roadblocks out of the way. Newmind’s assistance with training was also essential. They enabled a seamless, smooth process.”

Wadman Construction, based out of Ogden, Utah, had a similar story.

“With our Google Apps reseller, Newmind Group, assisting us, we use creativity and our unique philosophies to create a powerful informational ecosystem, giving us an edge in a very crowded market place.”

Going to show that a VAR takes the conversation beyond the point of sale, Wadman Construction’s example illustrates that a VAR has a more invested relationship than a typical retailer. A strong VAR has the capability and interest to integrate themselves as a piece of their client’s culture, and values their role in the client’s strategic outlook rather than becoming just another cost item on the CFO’s sheet.

Quick hits on Value-Added Resellers

  • Value-added resellers sell existing products with an added ‘value.’
  • The ‘value’ could be anything from specialized hardware and software, to ongoing services like IT support.
  • VARs can offer products competitive with direct manufacturers’ offerings.
  • VARs may offer industry perspectives that aren’t available from conventional sellers.

Moving forward with a partner

In a continually expanding landscape of devices and software, a lot of pressure is imposed onto businesses to correctly equip their workforce, but for those seeking a simplified solution for their technology needs, the right value-added reseller could remove a lot of stress and complexity from the buying process.