Retail is software vendors' new engine for growth says distributor

One of the quickest ways for software vendors to achieve sales growth is to enhance their in-store presence, according to Rod Orrock, managing director for software distributor Marketing Results.

Meanwhile, he also warned privately owned computer stores that the rapid rise of big department stores as players in the retail computing industry means they should be uniting together to meet the challenge or face extinction.

Orrock told ARN this week that as computers move deeper into the mainstream of retailing, store shelves are increasingly been seen by software vendors as an engine for growth. He said the variety and complexity of software solutions being sold today over the counter in the large stores, brings large numbers of buyers through the doors.

With 70 per cent of retail software sales now coming from what Orrock describes as; "major multi-store retailers", it is his opinion that this traffic is making the Harvey Normans, Coles-Myers and Dick Smith Electronics of this world some of the most important strategic partners of major software vendors.

"Retailing is a growing area for software vendors and as a marketplace it has been serving them very well," said Orrock. "You do need specialist skills in that area and that is expertise far removed from those of a software publisher."

While this new reliance on the big retailers for growth may spell further danger for independents, Orrock also said there will always be a place for the smaller player, but he suggests joining co-operatives and delivering quality service and support are essential.

"Small retailers are still doing well in the areas where those major stores don't have a presence -- in many regional centres, for example -- and there will always be the need for personal service. Comfort is still a big buying motive," said Orrock.

"In most mature industries, buying groups do well, so it is obvious that this will happen here if price competitiveness is to be retained. If you are a retailer in the city and you don't have other components to your business aside form shifting boxes, then you are really going to struggle to compete with the superstores where you can walk in the door and pretty well buy what you want off the shelf."