By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Rural and regional retailers like the attention of suppliers and need to be better understood. That’s the message from Logitech Australia director ANZ George Saad, who spoke with yesterday about how suppliers can improve their business relationships with our oft forgotten country cousins.

Logitech needs these relationships to work well, as its range of premium computer and AV peripherals will not sell through unless the retailers know the products, and their features and benefits, thoroughly. Saad reported that Logitech is doing really well in Australia at the moment, but not all retailers are benefiting from this success.

“We understand at the moment that there’s a big opportunity out in those areas,” said Saad.

“Even the people like Harvey Norman, who have a very high representation with their rural stores as part of their business, but are not yet getting that [opportunity] – we don’t actually service that. We’re looking at programs now to go out and engage those rural stores to better present our products to the end user, so we’re doing a lot more of that today.

When asked specifically about small town stores, typically Retravisions or Betta Electricals, Saad said that combined effort from suppliers and retailers was required.

“Let’s go down the path of a Retravision or a Leading Edge, which tend to be more in that rural setting, one of things that we find with those guys: we’ve got to work together to develop a program so that we’re talking with them…regarding, how do we get your stores to feel comfortable selling technology.

“That’s also one of their challenges – it’s not only us; we’ve got to work hand in hand to deliver that message.”

So what exactly is Logitech doing?

“We’re working first with the customers, [who are] saying ‘we want more help in those segments’. Okay, so what do we do? A roadshow? Do we develop a training programme? So we go out to them and personally see these people, give them one-on-one training.

“They do need a lot more love – it’s something we’re starting to work with, so we’re developing a programme in retail and I’m doing a lot of business in the next few weeks and I’m going to go out to stores in rural [areas] to really make sure…and find ways to better engage and give them a good understanding of the content, and that’s what we’re starting to do with these people.

“After talking to a few of them, they really want that attention and understanding, and that’s something we’ve got to do.”

Logitech recently released its Wireless Guitar Controller for Guitar Hero (RRP $399), a product specifically designed for the PlayStation 3 game. This model features a 1-piece contoured wood body, rosewood fingerboard and metal frets, and a 10-metre wireless range.