Champion of the indies - PC Retail

Champion of the indies

PCR talks to head of software sales at PC Indie, Joanna Kemp
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When was Koch set up and where?
The UK arm of Koch Media was established in 1994 by our MD Craig McNicol and CEO Klemens Kundratitz, with our first move into the software arena being Europress Educational titles.

How much does the company now resemble the initial set-up?
Koch Media UK started out selling software into retail. Although the company has now grown into several different sectors along the way, we are still true to our roots and software is still a key focus for the company. Over the years, our software business has grown into different customer sectors such as volume licensing and OEMs, and our strategy will continue to see our software portfolio grow.

How has the software market changed since you began trading?
Margins are under constraint, vendors are battling in the market for the number one position, and marketing has become more expensive and even more key. We have seen a massive increase in market share going towards the online sector, and in recent years mass market retailers are taking some of the action and growing new markets for software. With the explosion of hardware pricing and PCs becoming more and more affordable in conjunction with the new retailers, we are seeing a new lease of life for software.

You've just launched PC Indie.com, how has the initial reaction to that been?
Absolutely fantastic. I've been receiving great feedback from independents and publishers on how great the site looks and feels. It's opening up a lot of conversations and ideas for us to continue to expand, and all feedback points to how a site like this was needed – a dedicated online portal to reach and work with the independent sector that is focused on software, and not trying to cover every base and be something for everyone.

What's the importance of schemes such as that?

They are very important to us, which is why we have developed the portal. It shows commitment to growing our business and also shows commitment to the often excluded independent sector. Every distributor has some type of online solution that carries their portfolio and is available to all – but this is very different. It's dedicated to software and dedicated to the independent sector who crave an easy to use, free delivery, no minimum order, no fuss solution.

How will the site develop over the next year or so?
The site will continue to evolve – more publishers will be signing up and new products will be available. We are working with key publishers at the moment, creating exclusive POS packs, exclusive bundles and promotions. Watch this space but we are also working on some very exciting incentives for this year to offer to our independent customers.

What other plans do you have for the year going forward? Any plans for expansion?
For me it's clear, I want this year to be a success for PC Indie and thus a success for Koch. I'm always on the look out to bring new publishers into the Koch portfolio and of course always thinking about how we can grow our business.

What do you think the biggest problems facing independents are at the moment?
It's challenging times for all out there at the moment. In terms of key problems it's about managing cash flow, getting good margins, offering great service for customer retention and giving the customer great deals that are competitive elsewhere in the market. Independents need to focus on their expertise and great customer service levels offering the customer a reason to go back time after time. Enter PC Indie!

WHAT IS PC INDIE?

PC Indie is an online portal designed specifically to support independent retailers. Koch says it has seen a positive reaction from the trade since the site went live in April, and is encouraging more UK independents to sign up. As an introductory offer, stores which spend over £50 on their first order through the new scheme will receive a Koch media starter pack free of charge, which is worth over £360 retail value.

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