Last month, Microsoft announced a partnership with Best Buy wherein small businesses could receive advice on and purchase Microsoft technology at Best Buy for Business centers, the nationwide retailer's store-within-a-store.
This month (and just in time for National Small Business Week), Lenovo has announced a similar relationship. The company's entire product line the ThinkPad, ThinkCentre and Lenovo-branded lines of notebooks, desktops and accessories are available at Best Buy for Business centers. Customers can touch, feel and test the products on site and then order them. They can't, however, buy one and take it home on the spot.
The partnership essentially makes Best Buy a value-added reseller (VAR) for Lenovo and a big one at that. Currently, Best Buy has business centers in more than 135 locations and, according to Ty Yelich, a Lenovo sales manager, that number will double this year.
Lenovo entered into this partnership primarily because of Best Buy's audience. "Best Buy, and even more specifically, Best Buy for Business, focuses on the small and very small businesses, and that business model makes sense for Lenovo," says Yelich.
Sales associates working at the Best Buy for Business centers typically three to four per store will receive training specific to Lenovo products. "The training is above and beyond the standard Best Buy technical training, and the associates' dress will be differentiated from the standard blue golf shirts that Best Buy employees typically wear," said Yelich. "There's a major effort going into the training, and that's another reason this partnership makes sense. Our products and our company name are in good hands."
Calling Best Buy for Business the "definitive source for small businesses," Tom Healy, executive vice-president of Best Buy said in a written statement, "Best Buy for Business and Lenovo share a focus on delivering high customer satisfaction With the help of Lenovo-trained professionals, Best Buy for Business customers will be able to choose the PC that is right for them and their business."
The addition of the Best Buy partnership now gives small business customers three ways to purchase Lenovo product: at the Best Buy for Business centers, over the phone or on the Web, either from the Lenovo Web site or through the Best Buy for Business site.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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