WIG Multi-mode Retailing

In this article we are detailing about WIG about the task of building its multi-mode retailing.

By the mid-1990s WIG channel system consisted of five distinct types of retail intermediaries:

1. Dealers.
2. Value Added Dealers
3. Info-channel Dealers
4. Value Added Resellers.
5. Service Franchisees.

Each mode of retailing met a distinct need and served a distinct segment.

Dealers: WIG developed an extensive network of dealers. WIG, in fact, was the first IT company in India to set up an elaborate network of dealers. Through such a network WIG was able to achieve a strong market reach, which soon became a competitive advantage for the company.

Value Added Dealers (VAD):

After setting up a network of dealers, WIG created a network of exclusive dealers called value added dealers (VAD). The VAD were created mainly to cater to the needs of customers who fell under the purview of the Business Solution division. WIG knew that dealers in an industry like IT differed very from typical dealers in other businesses. In IT, it is not the shelf space of the dealers that added value. Here, the dealer has to go through the entire selling cycle, right from prospecting to consummating the sale. Mere provision of shelf space in a good location would suffice. WIG chose to call the dealers who served customers coming under the business solutions divisions as value added dealers.

Typically, a VAD’s customer would be institutional buyers/companies, whose annual turnover was less than Rs 10crore. The value-added dealer system was intended to secure the lower end of the market where first time use of PCs was involved, e.g. small-scale industries doctors and other professionals usually included in the SOHO market. Here, both the dealers and the Wipro info Channel come into the picture. The VAD had the expertise to handle additional software. The buyers are typically first-time users, placing orders for relatively smaller systems. Systems integration requirement would be minimal. In some cases, the VAD could also be a franchisee that provided after-sales service support to the customer. Within the class of VAD, WIG formed four different categories A, B, C, D according to the volume of business they brought in and the level of flexibility conferred on them in the matter of pricing.


A void was felt in the segment of medium-sized corporate accounts, which had to be handled quickly. WIG created the info-channel dealers to cater to this segment. The info channel dealers are similar to the VAD but with a difference — they cater to customers in the next higher bracket while VAD cater to the lower-end buyers.

One major parameter that separated the info-channel from the VAD was the level of technical competence available at the dealer level. The info-channel dealers were required to have a much higher level of technical competence. They involved themselves with systems integration to some extent. They did not go to the extent of selling total solutions. They had a technical sales force of their own that could understand the exact needs of the customers and give them the required guidance.

Value Added Resellers (VAR): The communications Products division (CPD) sells through value added resellers (VARs). This is an exclusive channel for Wipro communication products. Among the products sold by this channel are remote access and other communication devices. The value added resellers are usually consultancy or software firms, who sell a bundle of software and hardware of Wipro to the customers. The resellers have their offices in various parts of the country. By 1995, WIG had built up over 300 such resellers.

Service Franchises:

In the matter of customer service support (CSS), WIG has been voting for franchising. This policy applied to all of WIG’s products, services and customers segments. This gave rise to a separate component in the overall retail channel. The service franchisee might or might not be a dealer of WIG products, but would certainly be exclusive to Wipro as far as service was concerned. Certain aspects of service were taken care of directly by the company.