Back in the old days, buying software was quite an involved process. Customers who wanted to buy Microsoft Office or Windows would need to go to a shop, find the box, take it to the till, and pay for it with card or cash.
Worse, even before they did that they’d need to find a store with stock first through online research or by making many phone calls, and only then drive to the right store and back. Once purchased, they’d still need to insert the CD into the PC the software was for, start the installation, enter the product key, wait for the installation to complete, and then download updates.
It was, to put it mildly, a bit of a schlep.
Microsoft is the biggest software company in the world and a leader in all things relating to digital transformation, and as such has been offering its customers digitally-downloadable software for quite some time now. ESD, which stands for Electronic Software Delivery, is a relatively new development whereby Microsoft allows its distributors to offer this same ability to resellers.
And while ESD’s benefits for resellers are many – lower overheads, more profit, easier/faster satisfaction of customer needs – it’s the end users that benefit the most from it.
Firstly, they don’t need to go anywhere to get their software – all they need is a computer or smart device that’s connected to the internet.
Secondly, the software they buy is identical to the software they’d get in a physical store. It just happens to be downloadable.
Then there’s the fact that there are no shipping costs involved. They simply buy their software online (often for less money than a physical edition costs), activate it immediately after purchase, download and install, and voila. There’s never a question of whether or not the software they want is available, either – digital software is always in stock, and available in whatever quantities the end user needs.
And once it’s downloaded and installed, the product key for that software is associated with their account forevermore.
Even better, it can be re-downloaded from the cloud in the future should it be needed again. If they get a new PC, for example, the license can be transferred to the new box and easily reinstalled over the internet.
The convenience of buying digital also means end users can buy their software at any time of the day or night. Arguably the “worst” part of the process for them is the download, which can take time depending on their internet connections and the size of the files. But that’s still a lot better than any part of buying physical.
So yes, making software available to your customers via ESD is a very smart move. Not only will it benefit your business, but your customers will appreciate the ease and convenience you offer them – things that could motivate them to come back to you time and time again for their IT needs.