INTERVIEW - Andreu Coll, Sales & Marketing @ BOOX
by Liam McSherry, Thursday 26 March 2020
Tell us about BOOX and your channel plans for 2020
As a leading e-Reader and e-Ink tablet brand, BOOX is looking for new distributor partners to promote our products around the world. 2019 was an incredible year for us. We grew our channel partner base in various European countries, and we recently participated at DISTREE EMEA 2020 to meet more potential channel partners for the EMEA region. We introduced delegates to our latest products with improved hardware and new software features.
We are seeing strong consumer demand for our BOOX e-Ink tablets so we are keen to expand our channel reach and offer even more people the chance to enjoy our products.
What specific products/solutions do you want distributors to know about your portfolio?
Our product ranges from 6” (the very entry-level) to 13.3” (the very advanced high-end level), going through 7.8” and 10.3”. All models are running the Android system, 6.0 or 9.0, which makes them very compatible with 3rd party apps. We also have new software features such as voice-to-text and a note taking solution. Without doubt, the larger size e-Ink Tablets are here to stay and are a good fit for multiple channels.
We take a steady and supportive approach to working with our partners and growing our business. Distributors can select models to test on their local market without any compromise or minimum quantities. If the test is successful, we provide partners with a variety of marketing materials to support local campaigns, staff training and warehouse support.
Describe how your channel business has developed in the past 12 months? What trends have you seen and what have been the highlights for your business?
Over the past 12 months, sales of BOOX branded products have increased by 64% and we are selling in 45 countries. Testament, we believe, to our customer’s enjoyment of our products and the superior reading experience they get compared to LCD tablets.
Besides online, BOOX is selling in established retail stores - a core part of our global expansion strategy. We believe it’s essential to have our products in physical stores for brand awareness and sales growth. It’s the best way for end-users to try the product and get a real feel for what our e-Ink tablets are like.
We are confident that selling BOOX e-Readers and e-Ink Tablets will be a profitable enterprise for both distributors and retailers. We have a highly experienced and professional R&D team, which keeps developing state-of-the-art products and releasing innovative firmware packages.
Which geographic areas and/or channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for your company? North America and Europe are our main target markets for 2020. The education and B2B markets are important for BOOX and we are seeing real growth opportunity in traditional online stores.
Amazon is an essential part of our revenue, however, we are also selling in other retailers such as MediaMarkt, Microspot.ch, Digitec Galaxus, Switzerland, Alza in the Czech Republic and Hungary, and Komplett in the Nordics. We have great plans for the German market, and in the US, we are starting our adventure through B2B channels after reaching incredible sales numbers on our Amazon US store (No.1 for BOOX sales).
In Asia, we work with retail chains such as Yodubashi and Big Camera in Japan and Fortress, Hong Kong. We are selling across 90% of the countries in the region.
Why should distributors and retailers focus on your products? What makes your channel proposition better than competitors in the market?
BOOX is one of the leading brands in the e-Ink industry. For close to 12 years, we have worked hard to create innovative devices and develop a diverse product portfolio. There is no other company in the market supplying e-Ink Tablets in different sizes with the same level of features. We are the first company to launch an e-Ink Tablet using Android 9.0, and there still more to come. We think our technology has huge potential, and our ambition is to be a key player in the global consumer tech market.
We try to offer reasonable margins to our channel partners, and invest in activities to grow brand awareness with consumers and channel partners which in turn supports the sales of our products. Our company, Onyx International Inc, is a respectful and trustworthy firm that honours the agreements made with our partners. We work with our distributors in their respective markets and provide localized support so that they can develop the BOOX business successfully.
Do you have a structured channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to your partners? Please explain this area of your business.
We have a good margin proposition for our partners. We don’t just set up a sales target; we look at how to reach the number and invest in marketing to support partner-led sales campaigns. Once the target is achieved, our partners benefit from even better margins and a marketing rebate for any spend related to building our brand.
What sort of support do you offer distributors in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?
Marketing: From high-res pictures and engaging videos to glowing reviews by tech journalists all over the world, channel partners can access a wealth of BOOX related materials. We are always willing to work hand in hand with our partners and invest in marketing campaigns to push sales and increase brand awareness.
Promotions: We target several key selling dates throughout the year, and prepare exclusive deals and promotions for our customers. Whether it’s on our online BOOX store, amazon or through B2B channels, we want to provide discounts at these times so retailers can have a higher sell-through rate. Each market has their own important holiday dates and peak buying times, so it is important to discuss local campaign strategies with our partners.
Channel Development: We offer training for our partners’ staff, and we provide samples to display in offline stores so end-users can experience BOOX products before buying them. We like to discuss ideas with our partners and focus on the best sales generating activities in line with individual markets.
How quickly is your business growing in the EMEA region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?
In 2019, the growth of BOOX has been incredible. In one year, we have started selling in Central Europe, the Nordics, and developing our presence in the DACH countries. We just started in Switzerland, and this year, we expect to reinforce existing business relationships by increasing our investment in marketing activities. We are happy to see that all of the effort put into developing a better product for these markets has delivered excellent results, with strong sales and positive customer feedback.
Is your company channel friendly? How would you describe your overall go-to-market approach in the EMEA market? What are your overall channel goals and aims for 2020 in EMEA?
We consider ourselves a channel-friendly company because we are not just selling to a company and then forgetting about them. This is a journey we are taking with our partners through both the good and ‘not so good’ times. We fully understand that our business requires patience. We offer different types of support that will help distributors to decide on embarking in the BOOX business, knowing that we will be there offering help when they need it.
For 2020, we will develop new channel business in the education and corporate sectors. But we will manage our overall channel business in the same way as we did in 2019 and of course put the same energy into the consumer business which has brought us the success we enjoy today. What should distributors know about your company and your products and/or solutions?
BOOX has been in the e-Reader and e-Ink tablet business for more than 11 years. During this time, we have won several prizes such as the ‘Red Dot’ award (2019), the ‘Best Android E-reader’ award in 2019, and the "Best PDF Reader" award. All these prizes are the result of BOOX products’ creative designs and multiple functions. Our products get great feedback and excellent sales results, from our retail, distributor, content and industrial solution partners. Besides the e-Reader and e-Ink Tablets business, we also provide e-Ink solutions for corporate and educative channels.