Elite looks for new channels

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In an unassuming warehouse across the road from Wembley Stadium, where Elite Mobile has set-up residency for the last 15 years, its chief executive says flexibility is the key to surviving in a volatile market place. For Elite, distributing accessories, this means keeping prices low and costs lower.

Says Gokani (pictured): “The key is keeping costs down and adapting and changing quickly to the market. From day one we kept our costs as low as possible. Low costs are also what our customers are looking for.”

A ring-around of Elite buyers appears to confirm its prices are competitive and its approach is professional, at least.

IT distributor Micro-P only buys a couple of lines from Elite, and it tends to work with vendors directly. But Micro P buyer Jane Richardson says: “Elite is proactive and tries to make sure it’s competitive within the channel.”

Redstone purchasing manager Simon Moore says Elite’s pricing reflects trends in the retail market, where a premium is more often now placed upon advanced accessories. Within that, Elite’s pricing has remained competitive. It is a business that is agile enough to monitor and react to the market, reckons Moore.

“Elite has a slick operation and is able to change with the market smoothly,” he says.

Elite claims to have 450 customers, across various channels, for its range of mobile and non-mobile accessories. Gokani refuses to say how many of that figure are active on a monthly basis, but he says numbers are up. Its customer base has increased 10 per cent year-on-year.

Beyond core channels

So how is that, when the traditional mobile distribution market has contracted at such a rate? Gokani says Elite has moved its focus away from the core market, where competition is fierce, and into non-traditional channels where traction is picking up.

“Elite is not looking to seal further deals with mobile dealers,” says Gokani.

The non-traditional channel now accounts for the highest amount of sales for Elite – 40 per cent of its sales come via this route, compared with 30 per cent from the dealer market and 30 per cent from big retailers and networks.

“We’re always looking for other ways to enter the non-traditional channel. Our future is going to be with non-traditional retailers going forward because some of the things we’re looking at bringing out are targeted at them,” says Gokani.

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