What’s the best way to sell small businesses software-as-a-service? At Your e-Service thinks the best approach is the way software has always been sold — in stores and through mail-order catalogs.
On Monday, the Campbell, Calif.-based publisher of Web-based applications will announce an agreement with mail-order giant PC Connection (NASDAQ, PCCC) to sell its stable of 20 small-business products. In May, the company established a retail presence through agreements with Frye’s Electronics and MicroCenter computer stores (see Web-based Apps Go Retail).
“We’ve learned a lot,” said At Your e-Service CEO Diane Archer, referring to the company’s experience at the retail level. “Our survey results indicate that users are receptive to the category,” she told ASPnews. However, the results also indicate that awareness of e-services wasn’t high, Archer added. She said that currently the company is “refining its merchandising,” in an effort to better educate customers.
Education is also a large part of the agreement with the Merrimack, N.H.-based PC Connection. Archer said that At Your e-Service will train PC Connection’s 500 sales account managers and catalog telesales representatives. “The training will primarily focus on the concept of e-services and the benefits for the customers,” Archer told ASPnews.
At Your e-Service products will appear in the November issue of the PC Connection catalog, which reaches about two million people, according to the company. The software services will also be available at the PC Connection Web site.
Among the more popular products offered by At Your e-Service, according to Archer, are Email Factory, which is designed to let small businesses create opt-in e-mail marketing campaigns with little up-front investment or knowledge of databases or list management; and Metamend, which provides Web site analysis, meta tag optimization, search engine optimization and monthly stats (for $16.99 per month, according to the company).
In addition to Frye’s and Micro Center, At Your e-Service products are also available through Programmer’s Paradise. Archer said that the company is still in the research mode and that more announcements will follow soon.
At Your e-Service’s distribution strategy reflects a growing trend for companies to sell ASP-delivered software through traditional channels. (See ASP Finds Shelf Life and How to Succeed in the ASP Sales Channel).