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November 17, 2020


How cloud empowers channel partners who offer mobile computing and labeling solutions

Paul Vogt

Reseller partners will need to transform to survive. With limited trade shows on the horizon and site visits expected to be restricted for many months at least, the channel will be forced into a drastic transition in how it operates.

Rather than relying on the predominately physical face-to-face environments that they have based their business models on in the past, channel partners delivering print solutions now need to prove value to prospects virtually, and in some cases try and take more of an active role in supporting solutions they sell to help get sales over the line.

One key aspect of this in action is resellers adopting vendor’s cloud-based software platforms, which allow them to bring solutions to life through scenario demonstrations, product testing and supporting solution roll-outs. Now is the time for partners to rethink the business model.

Resellers are adapting to the new environment

Before the pandemic, most resellers in the labeling space primarily used a face-to-face business model to sell and support their labeling solutions. Today, that has all changed. Resellers have to connect virtually from their home with customers in their home. They will need to collaborate, interact and discuss with their customers without being on site.

Customer engagement is being driven to move online and therefore resellers will require more virtual collaborative tools to demonstrate and run their meetings and also to run their pilots. Traditionally the way to run all of this was physically on site, storing software on the local server. This is simply not viable anymore.

Now the opportunity is there for resellers to manage the whole process remotely and securely for customers. From running live demos through to designing and test printing label templates, deploying solutions, printing labels and managing supplies inventory – access to a collaborative sharing toolset will be a must.

This huge step forward will allow the end user to try out the software for themself and also let the wider team, including production, IT and operations, to use it all virtually. This new approach to selling and supporting label management turns remote working from a barrier to a competitive advantage for customers.    

Overcoming resellers’ hesitancies in adopting the new approach

Fear of the unknown is perhaps the main issue here for resellers. Initially some end users are understandably cautious over cloud, expressing concerns over security and worries there may be issues with complexity – such as where the data resides.

Adapting to working in new way is difficult for all of us. For some perspective, however, CRM went through cloud adaption 15 years ago and finance has been going through it for the past ten years. It may take a few years but once the adoption crosses the chasm then it becomes generally accepted it picks up momentum across the whole community and becomes the norm.

The main benefits for the channel

Moving onto a recurring revenue model is always interesting for the channel. Perhaps the most important benefit for an organization as the whole business transitions to the new model is simply knowing that in the next month they will have income. They are also not as reliant on projects.

In terms of labeling, a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution acts as a virtual collaboration tool for labeling, enabling channel partners to demonstrate, sell and configure labeling solutions for customers, remotely from their home. It allows channel partners to collaborate with their customers on screen in real time, design and approve label templates, print applications, make label and forms designs available via browser, set up customers to manage their own labeling processes remotely, manage their customers’ applications and replenish supplies automatically by having visibility of inventory.

The cloud-based labeling solution also allows channel partners to offer additional services to customers. For example, end users can outsource labeling to the VAR enabling it to use services that previously wasn’t able to. This can range from compliance services and validation, through to label design, application development and supplies inventory management. There is a whole series of these additional services that some end users will value highly. The VAR is in the perfect position to offer them.

The evolving channel model

The increasing demand for the new financial offering, shifting from single purchase models (CapEx) to subscription-based models (OpEx) seems to be occurring more quickly in the countries like US and UK due to fast cloud adoption, with Covid-19 further accelerating the process. Before the pandemic, businesses didn’t necessarily need cloud for labeling, but now it is increasingly becoming a must-have solution.

One thing that is clear is that channel partners are set to completely change and will need to become more service oriented, with much closer ongoing relationships to their customers. With SaaS they are constantly providing services rather than simply working on a project, installing it and moving onto the next one. In the past, a channel partner might well have 1,000 customers, 10 of whom were doing a project a year. Moving forward, they are going to have 100 customers with whom they are working constantly, thanks to cloud-based solutions.

To learn about the NiceLabel’s partnership program, visit www.nicelabel.com/partners/partner-program.

  • Cloud
  • Labeling