ARN: How would you describe your business?
Clair: We develop software for medium-to-large retail chains and have serviced national clients in the clothing, footwear and jewellery areas, amongst others. Two of our current clients are Jeans West and the Body Shop.
What would you say is the core focus of your business as an integrator?
Our focus is on the specialty retail chains generally with turnovers of around $20 million and upwards and with multiple store locations all over Australia.
We develop, implement, install and support POS and head office management systems.
We have developed a Windows-based PC POS system and are supporting and utilising touch screen tech- nology in some sites. We build our solutions around NCR hardware and software products.
What differentiates your company from others operating in the same field?
We have a fully integrated end-to-end solution for our niche retail customers. We don't deal with supermarkets and petrol stations but what we do handle for our customers are all their store requirements such as inventory, ordering, price management and stock allocation from head office.
Which vendors do you partner with and why?
We partner with NCR who have high-end hardware products targeted at the retail POS and banking Eftpos markets and we also partner with Dynakey. NCR has a rugged high-quality touch screen system that delivers high-definition images.
What do you look for in a vendor partnership?
We look for a vendor that has both a national and international presence but which relies on a local technical support structure that we can leverage off. For example, with NCR we have implemented a system in Europe for our client The Body Shop on NCR hardware. That installation in Europe was based on the relationship we have with our vendor here.
What new or emerging technologies offer the best opportunities to your business?
The Internet and the business-to-customer and business-to-business opportunities it provides. The Internet threat is a big challenge for bricks-and-mor-tar retailers and we need to support them with their push on e-commerce strategies.
Where does your company excel most in its business methodologies?
We have an in-depth knowledge of and vast experience in retail. We can implement the best retail solution based around our knowledge of a vast industry.
What is the key buying motive among your customers?
At the moment it would be Y2K panic, which has been the biggest motivator for retailers to upgrade their POS and management systems. The GST is creating yet another compelling reason for retailers to upgrade their old computer technology.
What are the major challenges facing your company at the end of the century?
Obviously, the GST and keeping up with the demand it's creating. The other thing that is always a challenge is being in a position to deliver and implement a system for a retail customer when they need it. Working to the Y2K deadline has been a good example of that.
What is the major inhibitor to your business development plans at the moment?
A shortage of skills with IT staff. We need people with a good understanding of business methodologies, programming and the retail industry.profileRetail DirectionsBased: MelbourneStarted: 1993Head office: SydneyStaff: 40 approximatelyTurnover: $5 millionGrowth: 100 per cent over the last few years(03) 9561 3888