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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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i-mate ready to appoint specialist retail agency

Mobile outfit draws up shortlist of firms to support ME retail channel.

Windows mobile specialist i-mate is on the verge of hiring a third party marketing agency that will provide dedicated support and assistance to the vendor's Middle East retail channel.

ECN has learned that i-mate is in the final stages of assessing a number of potential candidates that are interested in becoming the company's ‘elite merchandising force' in the region.

"We didn't have any problem getting pitches coming in and I think that goes back to how sophisticated this market is becoming because these sorts of companies are now more readily available," said Jack Craine, general manager at i-mate.

Craine reveals that the third party agency will "support pull-through and provide retailers with points of contact for merchandising and product information" with i-mate bearing the full cost of the initiative. "Our distributors provide some of those support services, but I think that we have to add further value to our retail partners at the point of sale," he said. "This is an initiative we believe is critical to be able to grow the brand and the sales, and it is an investment that we are prepared to make."

i-mate is confident that it will be in a position to launch the activity within the next quarter and is aiming to engage with retail partners throughout the region.

"We will roll it out over the GCC countries," confirmed Craine. "The trial of this has been a merchandising team that we have had working in the UAE already. We see the benefits of it and are prepared to commit some investment to it."

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