The Intersoft Group helps independent retailers and distributors avoid the pitfalls that can befall so many when trying to go online with sales. As an alternative to companies without the experience, using software that the client can control, the Intersoft Group provides them with a seasoned partner, and has been doing so since the 1990s. Intersoft does all the work–but the clients also get to own the license to their own online store.
“You’re going to invest a tremendous amount of time and effort into this system, so rather than do something where you’re renting your business, you ought to own that online business,” says Intersoft’s Joe Muttillo. “That’s what we provide for them–peace of mind. We’ve heard the horror stories, of developers skipping town, going bankrupt, the clients having nothing to show for it. Our mission is to give our clients a feature rich, incredibly search-engine friendly storefront loaded with email marketing and word of mouth tools that they can update themselves without having to learn HTML and other programming languages. If you can type up a letter in Word, you can manage and update your entire site. We do all the low-level hooking-up of everything, and they get an all-inclusive price for which we provide all the services that they need.”
Back in 1992, Intersoft was developing manufacturing and distribution accounting software, including a lot of customized systems. Fourteen years ago, the company made the transition from manufacturing and accounting software, to writing software for the internet, then a new platform. As the company made that transition, the development of proprietary software also came into play, in developing websites and applications. This was before the advent of many of the tools that are out today, so most everything had to be written from scratch.
“We took a lot of our experience in writing accounting software and working with folks that way, and transitioned that to the web,” says Muttillo. “So we weren’t just a pretty website developer, or programmer geeky types. We came at our clients from the standpoint of ‘how does your business need to actually work.’ We got into e-commerce probably around 1997, when it first started really taking hold. We began to develop our own line of storefronts, and it’s grown from there over the years.”
The majority of Intersoft’s client base is made up of retailers and/or distributors who want to do one of two things. Either they are launching their companies and looking to sell directly, or they want to be able to showcase their catalog online, and only allow their dealers to log on and order from them. The most challenging aspect of meeting those clients’ needs is that this is a space which changes so quickly:
“Every three months is like a year for any other type of a product, from a development point of view. Kind of like dog years, in a way. Not only is it all about staying up to date on which technology is out, but also deciding which technology you’re going to follow and stay invested in. What’s going to be the practical implementation for our clients? One of the biggest challenges is to quickly evaluate and discern what it is that our clients are going to be able to make the most practical use of, not just in terms of real-world implementation, but also budget implementation. Certain things are great to do, but they cost a lot of money to implement. You have to ask if you’re really going to get a return from it.”
Looking ahead, Muttillo and Intersoft anticipate that the mobile commerce arena is only going to get more and more prominent in the near future, as well as the concept of text marketing, wherein customers can put their cell numbers into a website, signing up to receive promotions via SMS. Virtual product presentation online is another anticipated area of growth. These solutions are still very pricey, but it’s expected that as that industry matures, and the costs of development are recouped, these practices will be dropping down into general businesses.
The Intersoft Group
23230 Chagrin Blvd. Suite 315
Beachwood, OH 44122