In an unprecedented show of cooperation between vendor, distributor and reseller, Harris Technology (HT) has launched a full-featured Web site which it hopes will significantly change the traditional reseller model.
Managing director Ron Harris says the new site extends the functionality of the physical store beyond its present capacity.
HT's Web site ties directly into its own Fox Pro-based inventory system, generating up to 20,000 web pages on-the-fly, and allowing prospective buyers to see stock levels in real time, or waiting periods for out-of-stock items. Further to this, the HT system ties directly into Tech Pacific's own inventory, which in turn links directly into Microsoft's.
According to Tech Pacific marketing manager Anne Mossman, the arrangement represents the synergy and interdependence of the three companies. "Microsoft is our largest supplier and has been for the last five years. We are Microsoft's largest distribution partner in Australia, and Tech Pacific is Harris Technology's largest supplier, and Harris Technology as a single outlet is our largest partner in Sydney." She added that the arrangement does not preclude HT from setting up similar arrangements with other distributors, or Tech Pacific with other resellers.
As for the Web site itself, HT has built a system capable of generating web pages for over 18,000 products. Harris says only 13 pages have been hand-coded, with an emphasis on limiting use of bandwidth-hungry graphics for the sake of speed.
While HT is currently using telephone confirmation to take credit card payments, Harris says the company will introduce secure technology for credit card transactions in the next few weeks.
He added that, as the Web site is expected to lower selling costs, HT will look at offering discounts to on-line buyers. "I believe it's going to increase our volume with our suppliers, so we'll be in a better position to talk about a discount, and then we'll pass that on."
Harris feels the buying public is ready for on-line trading.
"They want to be able to get a better price or make it easier. I think it's going to build up its own momentum, but it's all about credibility. If you make a promise, which we're doing now, then you have to deliver."