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INTERVIEW: Jihad Youssef, Promate

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 16 June 2014

Technology brand Promate is keen to accelerate its business growth in African markets. The company is attending DISTREE Africa 2014 to meet influential distributors, retailers and resellers from across the continent. Channel EMEA caught up with Jihad Youssef, general manager sales and marketing for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) at Promate, to learn more about the company’s strategy for Africa.

Channel EMEA: What does Promate want to achieve at DISTREE Africa 2014? What are your key goals for the event?

Jihad Youssef (JY): DISTREE Events are well-established around the world and are one of the most important events for vendors and distributors. At Promate we are looking to build networks, identify new partners and meet potential customers. We also want to strengthen our relationships with existing channel partners.

From a business standpoint, we see that Africa is a very promising market and there has been steady growth and business developments in recent years. We also see that developing Promate’s position with African retailers business will really help bring positive results.

CE: What products will you be showcasing at the DISTREE Africa 2014? What do you want channel partners to know about Promate’s portfolio?

JY: We have a very wide variety of SKUs as we are a lifestyle technology company. We have tailor-made products that provide total solutions for our clients. We also want our distributors to know that we have continuous product development, which is always up to date when it comes to the latest gadget trends. Promate also has a seasoned team of professionals in each region that are willing to give their utmost support in their business.

CE: Describe how Promate’s channel business has developed in the past 12 months? What trends have you seen and what have been the highlights of your business?

JY: Our channel business has been continuously developing in the sense that we are always seeking partners that are aligned with our true business model: the fact that Promate is made for retail.

We want to be in synchronisation with our partners as we want to have our eyes on the horizon, looking for long-term partnerships that can achieve steady growth over time. We already have partners that have adapted to our way of doing business, which is really good. They have the same concept of giving after-sales support to provide the value-added services that ensure happy customers.

We have seen trends come and go as we are in an industry that is very fast-paced when it comes to product innovation and we would like to say that we are always up to the task of being a leader in that area.

CE: Which customer segments and channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for Promate in Africa?

JY: We see great opportunities in Africa as a whole, but having a channel that would be synchronised with our concept of lifestyle technology would really be a plus. The growing market of Africa would mean an advantage for us as we are very innovative and our wide range of products would cover a lot of ground.

CE: Why should distributors, resellers and retailers stock and sell Promate products? What makes your channel proposition better than other competitors in the market?

JY: I can say that we at Promate are a total solutions provider, which most of the companies in this space cannot claim. We take pride on our advanced and aggressive approach when it comes to product innovation. We always make sure that we are on our toes in product development to keep ourselves in step with the fast-moving market trends.

CE: Do you have a structured channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to Promate partners?

JY: Our expertise and dedication in retail makes the structure healthy, as we always treat our retailers as partners as well. With that, we see to it that we have a dedicated team for each and every region to give them a clear knowledge of our product line-up that gives them an advantage in the market.

We invest in our relationship with partners, and we are always involved with everything that they need to make sure that growth is steady and the business is going in the right direction. We secure them a healthy margin and we have special considerations on pricing and support. Our strong belief of growing together with our partners is always there, that is why I think our margin proposition is a very healthy structure.

CE: What sort of support do you offer distributors and retailers in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?

JY: Our support is constant, providing POS promotions and marketing, and also making bundle offers from time to time. We take part in roadshows and exhibitions. We also provide dedicated display stands, which complement the specification of our products and help catch buyer attention. We also provide them with after sales-support. Any problem that would arise from the item, we provide them with whatever support they need and we really see to it that we are always there for them.

CE: How quickly is your business growing in Africa region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?

JY: Africa is a large and complicated market due to logistics and customs rules. We are slowly but steadily breaking into the market, but it is a challenge. It is really taking some time for us to develop as it is a price-driven market. We are dealing with it and can say that good results are starting to show thanks to our dedicated team. There is a lot of room for improvement in terms of stabilising and maintaining growth, but we are working hard to achieve that goal.

CE: What else should partners attending DISTREE Africa 2014 know about Promate?

JY: We at Promate will provide them with nothing but the best of the best. We are made for retail and with our dedication to the retail business, we will always make sure we are there for any support that they need. We want partnerships that are fruitful for both parties and last for years to come. We will try to fulfill consumers’ mobility and lifestyle needs, to bring footfall into shops and create happy customers.

Channel EMEA is an official Media Partner for DISTREE Africa 2014

African channel partners interested in discussing business opportunities with Promate executives can pre-schedule one-on-one meetings at DISTREE Africa 2014.

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