Comparetheware is a comparison site, designed as a trusted portal to give UK IT purchasers help with the selection of products and resellers. It has been developed by Craig Moody and Mike Worby, with funding from Computerlinks.
In the UK consumer sites such as comparethemarket.com and moneysupermarket.com have become very widely used for buying insurance and other financial services. While a few companies, such as Direct Line Insurance choose to remain independent, buying such services through Web portals has become the norm for millions.
Comparetheware intends to make its money from suppliers, through a basic annual subscription of £5k and from resellers, who will pay £25 per each lead they choose to accept. Both suppliers and resellers can spend more for enhanced services, which include highlighted positioning on the site.
Once a customer selects its prospective reseller, the details are put in a holding queue before a summary is sent to the chosen resellers, who pay the £25 to get the full customer details. They will be able to access live chat and will be able to cut down the time to request proposals with the ‘five minute tender builder’. Cutting down the time to tender, as well as that spent in searching the Web for solutions will have a clear benefit for many users – especially if their organisations require a minimum number of bids for each purchase order.
Its initial focus is on security software – an area in which there are not only many differences in approach, but also significant support requirements. It has already signed up a number of suppliers including CheckPoint, F5 Networks, RestorePoint, ClearSwift and RSA. We believe that reseller recruitment has been somewhat slower. In future it plans to expand its coverage to include networking, VoIP, storage, Cloud services and virtualisation software. This is a low-cost complement to traditional approaches, rather than a replacement for them.
As a go-to-market approach this has some strong theoretical advantages for users, resellers and vendors and will be helped by the relative acceptance of the Web as a purchasing channel for consumers of financial services. However it is a new, untested approach. Despite the backing of Computerlinks – a $1 billion private UK distributor – it will have to work hard to recruit sufficient resellers and to advertise its site to IT purchasers. You should take time to consider its approach – if successful we expect it to be much emulated.