“The saviour of UK retail is online shopping”

Name: 

Chris Barling

Role and company:

Co-founder and now chairman of SellerDeck (called “Actinic Desktop” before June 2012).

Employee numbers: 

37

Growth forecast for the next three years: 

20 per cent per annum following dip due to rebranding.

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace: 

The saviour of UK retail is online shopping, and SellerDeck, with its easy to use ecommerce software, has enabled tens of thousands of UK SMEs to make an estimated £11bn of sales since 1996. It also offers electronic till systems so that retailers can integrate their trading online and in-store. 

What’s the big vision for your business? 

To enable smaller businesses to truly own their future by using a system that is completely under their control, and does not leave them at the mercy of the failures or greed of a third party supplier.

Current level of international business, and future aspirations:  

One per cent overseas, no current plans to expand this.

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it: 

The Dotcom crash of 2000 and our subsequent delisting from the London Stock Exchange. It was the worst of times, but in some ways the best as well; in fact, the making of the business. What did I learn? All that glitters is not gold.

What makes you mad in business today? 

Companies that rip off their customers.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years? 

The impact of ever more advanced mobile devices and a world where retailers will see most of their sales come through this channel. Their websites will have to keep pace in terms of design and usability.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? 

Yes, technology businesses with high growth potential can access the finance that they need, even in these times. Not just from the banks, but from alternative sources such as crowdfunding, invoice auctioning and peer-to-peer lending.

How would others describe your leadership style? 

Calm, analytical, supportive and collaborative.

Your biggest personal extravagance? 

My Sealine F33, a 6 berth flybridge motorcruiser moored in Torquay Marina. I use her for regular day trips, holidays to Cornwall and occasionally across the channel.

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