Harris Technology ready to capitalise on e-commerce boom with new-look board
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Backed by a wealth of experience on its new-look board, the company is ready to take on new opportunities in the e-commerce space.
Pure-play e-commerce business Harris Technology (ASX:HT8) recently appointed two new members to its board with Alan Sparks coming in as non-executive chairman in January while Guy Polak was appointed non-executive director in April.
Just last month Harris Tech secured $5 million to fund its next phase of growth, following record sales in the third quarter of FY21, which represented a 206 per cent year on year increase.
Stockhead sat down with Sparks and Polak to find out what drew them to their new roles and what they see ahead for HT8.
Stockhead: Why did you join the HT8 board?
Guy Polak: In January, I was consulting to HT8 and gained a thorough understanding of the business. I developed a professional relationship with [Harris Tech CEO] Garrison Huang during this time and learnt that he is a hungry and motivated CEO.
When he asked me to join the board, I knew together with his drive and my experience, I could assist the business to accelerate its growth and maximise the opportunity ahead of us.
Alan Sparks: Firstly, Harris is in a great position to benefit from the explosive growth being experienced in e-commerce in Australia and I believe it has the right strategy of leveraging the existing marketplace platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Catch and Kogan.
The company has turned its fortunes around in the past 18 months and is now on a very stable platform for growth and profitability.
I felt a great fit with the culture where the company is run very frugally and where all the members of staff multitask enormously with a high work ethic. I also felt the tech positioning of the company was a good fit with my skills and experience.
Stockhead: Tell us a bit about your professional background and past experience.
GP: I have had over 25 years’ experience within retail and e-commerce, where I specialised in sales, wholesale, distribution, buying, sourcing, UX, marketing, merchandising and company ownership.
In 2014, I was promoted to Head of Buying within the Catch Group executive team, where I reported directly to the CEO.
AS: I am originally a chartered accountant but have been in general management in the tech space over the past 20 years across the Asia Pacific region.
My skill set spans a broad array of elements from sales and marketing, finance, technology and particularly in strategy and operational execution – all areas where I believe I can bring value to Harris Technology.
I have worked for Philips in South Africa and Asia Pacific, Belkin in Asia Pacific and more recently I was the CEO of Cellnet in Australia (ASX:CLT).
I firmly believe the experience gained across the last 20 years and my financial acumen together with the fact that I am a graduate of the AICD will be of great support to the amazing Harris Technology team.
Stockhead: What can you share with us about HT8’s recent recording-breaking Q3 result and the $5 million capital raise?
GP: We’ve started to see results from the foundations we’ve put into place and investments into extra warehousing (expanding from one warehouse to three within two years), product growth (in particular gaming), and relationships built with all the marketplaces.
Without a doubt, though, all credit goes to Garrison and his team.
The capital raise will help us action and accelerate the board plans for fast growth.
We aim to increase our purchasing power into categories like gaming and tech, which we see significant growth in, and also to diversify into new categories like appliances, home automation as well as refurbished IT products in which we see a huge opportunity. The wheels are already in motion in these areas.
AS: Since changing direction from being a distributor to becoming a pure-play ecommerce retailer, not without pain I would add, Harris Technologies has focused on establishing itself as the premier IT Tech online reseller, firstly within Amazon and more recently on eBay, Kogan, Catch and others.
The nature of the team at Harris is that they are constantly on the lookout for opportunities and are dynamic enough to be able to pivot to quickly take advantage of opportunities as seen in their sales of PPE products and graphics cards driven by the pandemic and Bitcoin respectively.
Strategically, Harris is addressing additional adjacent categories where their skill and capability allow them to address these markets with high probability of success, as can be seen in the addition of gaming to the portfolio. Given the position that Harris is in, I believe the future is bright.
Stockhead: What makes HT8 different to other e-commerce businesses?
GP: HT8 is a very efficient and cost-effective business with a strong understanding and relationship with all the marketplace platforms.
As a marketplace seller, HT8 is in a unique position to offer product range, pricing, logistics and customer care. Many sellers don’t tick all the boxes as HT8 does, which puts us in a position to be an important asset to the marketplace platform.
AS: Principally Harris works in harmony with all the elements of the value chain being vendor brand, distributor and e-commerce platform; we avoid being in competition with the major e-commerce sites. Instead by using their marketing power and contributing to their revenues one could say we are in “co-opetition”.
Harris has built a strong trust with consumers and drives very high ratings on its ecommerce platforms by delivering at a speed and a quality consistently exceeding customer expectations.
The breath of Harris’ product portfolio and its competitive buying power make it a natural go-to for buyers on the web.
This article was developed in collaboration with Harris Technology, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.