Bricks-and-mortar retailers cannot ignore web presence

20 May 2010

Indigenous Irish company Buy4Now Technology Group is set to create 20 new jobs over the next two years in a major R&D and export programme, with support from Enterprise Ireland. Michael Veale is CEO.

How can retailers on the high street not afford to be serious about the web?

Key to our success is the onset of multi-channel retailing where companies can embrace the web as a core part of their business. Around 75pc of people research products before they arrive in stores today and often they know more than the guy selling them.

A company may not always sell online but it may not sell in the physical store unless people can browse. A retailer’s online presence needs to reflect what’s in-store. Because of this, we believe that bricks-and-mortar businesses will struggle unless they are serious about online. used to deliver groceries bought online, but you are now also about software and services?

We started the company in 2000 and I was one of the founding directors. We developed the portal, and while that is still an important business we are also an e-commerce systems provider – focused on software-as-a-service (SaaS).

We go into an enterprise or retailer and look at their requirements, design a site and integrate that with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. We can work with any ERP system. For example, we integrate with SAP in Superquinn and with Oracle in Arnotts.

When did you go to market with your own technology products?

In 2004 we went into the US market and had a lot of success with our eGrocery product but we found the market very competitive. We had an end-to-end solution and sold the rights to the North American market to a competitor in 2008.

A new management team was put in place and our focus was closer to home: Ireland and the UK.

How will the Buy4Now Technology Group carve out a niche in the e-commerce/enterprise market?

Our portal is important to us in terms of where we are now because there is a great loyalty factor involving customers. Buy4Now Technology Group is the software and services company and we’re focused on building our own technology products and services by investing in R&D and targeting business in Ireland and the UK.

The key areas for us are cloud computing, SaaS and software on demand.

What does your technology do?

It enables order fulfilment, instructing drivers and delivery vans on where to bring goods and it also includes helpdesk software for helping customers. It is fairly intricate but has led to a 100pc increase in e-commerce sales year-on-year at Arnotts.

At DID we went in and developed a new website and it has seen turnover increase by 40pc. We also provide end-to-end technology for managing the customer relationship from transaction to delivery.

How do you see Buy4Now Technology evolving?

We’re focusing heavily on R&D and in the last two months have had the strongest sales closure pipeline in 10 years. We also have signed up our first three customers in the UK. We currently employ 65 people.

One of the areas we’re looking at is mobile commerce. We’re also focusing on expanding our presence in the UK and have opened the first of three sales offices there.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Michael Veale, CEO, Buy4Now Technology Group

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years