Logitech has appointed Albany-based Softprint Interactive as its manufacturer’s representative organisation (MRO) in New Zealand.
According to Logitech’s Australian general manager Marco Manera, this is the first time a technology company has appointed an MRO in this country.
He says, “The MRO is an American concept, it’s used quite widely there. Softprint will not be distributing our products in New Zealand; we’ll be keeping our existing relationships with Tech Pacific and Ingram Micro who will continue to handle the box moving and invoicing”.
Logitech’s MRO arrangement will see Softprint’s Sara Shubber acting as a business development manager for the peripheral manufacturer. She says she will be driving the brand and visiting resellers, “it means selling but not taking the orders. We want our resellers to be able to make their own decisions about which distributor to buy from.”
Similar arrangements are commonplace in other industries, for example pharmaceuticals.
Manera says that Logitech has fallen behind its competitors in the New Zealand market in recent years. In Australia the company goes head to head with Microsoft in the market for mice and keyboards.
“Logitech and Microsoft account for around 80–0% of the market there. Although one might pull ahead of the other in the short term, we are pretty close to each other in terms of revenue. In Australia we are either number one or number two in each market,” he says.
Here, Manera believes Logitech and Microsoft’s collective share of the mice and keyboard market would be less than 50%, with Microsoft being a much bigger player. He confesses that this is largely because the company has neglected the New Zealand market in recent years while focusing on sales in Australia. The appointment of Softprint specifically addresses this.
He says, “Softprint’s role is to get Logitech back into the stores and to get shelf space. They have nine people working in New Zealand, if we came here direct there would only be a single person and he or she would be based in Auckland — with Softprint we’ll even have a presence on the South Island.”
A key part of Logitech’s strategy in the mice and keyboard market is to push up the average price of these add-on devices. For example, the company’s recently introduced V500 Cordless Mouse costs $149 — but remains attractive to customers because it includes the latest technology. Manera says there’s an opportunity for resellers to sell the hardware alongside new systems.