Simon Scott (foreground) with Clive Glover (left) and Kelly Raines. Picture / Fotopress
Simon Scott (foreground) with Clive Glover (left) and Kelly Raines. Picture / Fotopress
Online seller leaping ahead

Online computer reseller is fast approaching the $1 million-a-month revenue mark with plans for the Australian market likely to further stimulate growth.

The tiny e-commerce operator weathered the dotcom bust and PC industry slump by keeping its garage start-up cost structure in place and is now becoming a sizeable partner for the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Tech Pacific.

Growth in the last few months had been particularly good, said Acquire's director and co-owner, Simon Scott. Revenue was $585,000 in March but by last month had jumped to $770,000. In April Acquire sold $200,000 worth of computer equipment and software in one record day.

'A lot of people are finding us on Google at the moment and we're getting lots of referrals from other customers.'

Servers, software licences, laptops and desktop PCs make up the bulk of Acquire's sales.

'There are other online operations which are good at selling graphics cards and motherboards, but we try to stay away from that,' said Scott.

About 60 per cent of sales came from businesses placing orders, the rest from the public ordering through the website. Scott said the company now had 14,000 registered users. Around 20 per cent of purchases were paid for by credit card, but the bulk of customers had monthly corporate accounts with Acquire and were on a 30-day billing cycle.

Acer's business development manager, Thomas Smith, had joined Acquire to run its Wellington operation and would focus on winning customers in the Government.

Acquire made similar margins on its hardware and software sales as the other 3000 computer resellers in the market - between 9 and 12 per cent.

'That's okay when you've got a small infrastructure like ours,' he said. Acquire had just five full-time staff. It did not have a warehouse and shipped goods directly from the distributor to the customer.

'The company's still making double-figure profit each month. But it goes into financing sales for the following month. We still drive $5000 cars,' added Scott.

At its current growth rate, Acquire's turnover would exceed $1 million a month by the end of the year. Total turnover for the year is expected to be in the region of $7 million.

'The initial goal was to own 1 per cent of the New Zealand market, now we're seeing beyond that,' said Scott.

Acquire wants to become a supplier of choice to companies with branches in Australia. It's next step is to put support people on the ground in Australia.

Auckland's Hilton Hotel was a customer, and Acquire was now supplying equipment to Hilton hotels across the Tasman.

Scott believed Acquire was attracting growing interest from suppliers because of its high growth rate and successful e-commerce model.

'We have a quarterly target with HP and we've already achieved 90 per cent of that target for the current quarter.'
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