Harris gets Smart with online financing

Harris gets Smart with online financing

Harris Technology has taken its online operations one step further, launching online finance for its business customers with RentSmart.

The facility is aimed at the B2B market and allows businesses to shop online at Harris, apply and be automatically approved for up to $15,000 worth of goods.

Finance will be available in a matter of minutes at any time of the day or night, according to the companies.

Harris Technology managing director Ron Harris said he believed the venture was a world first in e-tailing.

"Customers can apply live on site and the application goes through RentSmart to the Credit Reference Association," Harris said.

The approval document is then either faxed or e-mailed to the customer for a signature.

"Even professionals in business are entitled to the service, they just have to provide a statement about what the product is being used for."

Even if the application is not approved, the system puts the product directly into the Harris database as a provisional order, so sales staff can contact the customer.

The system is now live on the Harris Technology site - customers simply need to fill their shopping basket to $500 and the RentSmart option is offered to them at the checkout.

This month marks the third anniversary of the Harris online site.

"The business we are doing from the site is quite substantial," Harris said, pointing out that the Web accounts for more sales volume than all the retailer's cash and carry stores.

"But we do more in telesales than the Web and the shops combined - they are all successful business models."

Harris is also planning to open stores in Canberra and Brisbane.

The Coles Myer-owned company recently launched kiosks in Target stores to complement its Kmart kiosk program.

"The kiosks are still in the pilot stage so we are refining and testing the formula. But the basic concept is sound."

RentSmart has been working with the Harris call centre and stores for around a year. In January, the company launched its online finance system through its own site, offering automatic approval on finance in around three minutes.

"To my knowledge we are the only company in Australia to do credit checks online," said RentSmart marketing manager Neil Le Febvre. "We have been working on embedding that technology into Harris' system."

Although credit cards are the most widely accepted method of payment online, businesses often required finance facilities for larger transactions which could affect cash flow.

Harris said while credit card fraud remained an issue for all retailers, there was very little differentiation between the online and offline transactions.

"We have credit card fraud cases almost every day of the week, but it probably only amounts to one per cent of sales and it is very seldom successful. We can usually pick it up part way through the transaction. But we are not getting any more fraudulent transactions on the Internet than in our retail stores."

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