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Middle East invasion

Having conquered much of Europe, Dutch accessories manufacturer Trust has its sights set on the Middle East. We speak to Harold Huizing, the firm’s Group Commercial Director, on the strategy behind this bold market invasion.

Can you explain a little bit about the Trust brand, and why you want to come over to the Middle East?
It all started in Holland, close to Rotterdam, over 30 years ago. From there, we started to conquer Europe, and opened up offices in the UK, in Italy, in Germany – all the big countries around Europe. We were doing quite well. We’re very ambitious – since two years ago, we have a new board (I’m also a member of the trust board), and we want to conquer the world. We think we are ready for it because we have a strong base in Europe. Last year, we opened up in Brazil. And since two weeks ago, we’re starting up here.

How many countries do you operate in now?
I think it’s over 30 countries. Of course, you have a lot of little countries in Europe. Our expansion plans have been over the last two years, since the new board started, and then we opened up in Brazil, and we’d already started before in Russia.

How have you prepared for your entry into the Middle East market?
Because we want to do everything properly, over the last two weeks, we’ve been doing a lot of price research. We wrote down all the prices, and we were looking at Souq.com. We made a really good price comparison because we want to have the key pricing and the right reseller margins. We’re going to the Gitex Shopper to meet people and really get into the market, step by step.

What kinds of prices are we looking at here?
It’s mostly mid-range, but we have a clear structure. If there is a leading brand in the product group – let’s say Logitech, which is the world leader – we are priced about 10 to 15 percent below their prices. This is the end-consumer price. Actually, at the same price point, we have better specs and more beautiful products. This is always our challenge. They put their money into the marketing and the advertising, but we just put it into the products and we give our resellers a better margin.

What kinds of margins can a reseller expect?
Depending on the product, I would say somewhere from 25 percent up to 35 or 40 percent.

Now that you’re in the Middle East, how do you hope to get the brand name out there?
We will be present at DISTREE in Abu Dhabi, and we’ll be at GITEX in October. The resellers can visit us and they can see the products, they can touch the products. And of course, they’re also more than welcome to over to our offices in Jebel Ali, which, at the moment is still just a small office.

Aside from good margins, what can you offer potential partners?
We’re a very sales-oriented company. We want our partners to make money with us. For us, if we just sell to them, the value lasts just five minutes. I’d rather have a new order the next day with a partner. What’s also really nice for resellers is that we have a really wide range of products. We started with PC accessories, but nowadays everything is there. The best part for the retailers who deal with us is that we’re a one-point contact for them for everything.

It’s very important to us that we help our partners to make profit. In a marriage, if there’s only one happy, the marriage will go wrong in the end. I like to take this principle with me in business. We will not be the cheapest, but we will never leave our partners if we have a problem. We’ll help them with the rotation of the products, and we really point out how they can cross-sell. We’ll also help with up-selling. We have the most important price points.

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