itim Group product excellence in platform delivery outcomes (LON:ITIM)

itim group

Itim Group plc (LON:ITIM) Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ali Athar caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss highlights from their interim results, how it helps its customers, product development, helping customers during macroeconomic headwinds and what we can expect from the Group going forward.

Q1: itim Group released interim results this morning, can you just talk us through the highlights?

A1: The highlights are that we are making steady progress. Our fundraising last year was done to allow us to hire more people and invest more in our platforms to make us more attractive to our customers. The results are just a reflection of the fact that we’ve been investing aggressively in trying to achieve that.

Our goal this year is to increase our contracted ARR by £3 million, from £11 million last year to £14 million by the end of this year, and we announced in our previous trading update that we’d already secured £2 million of that by April this year. I’m still confident with a bit of fair wind that we’ll achieve our targets by year end.

Q2: Can you just remind investors of what the company does and how it actually helps its customers?

A2: So, we provide an end to end omnichannel SaaS-based platform for retailers. We genuinely believe that through omnichannel excellence, retailers can drive sales and increase profits and compete more effectively against pure play online competitors. We believe we are having success in demonstrating that as most of our retailers are opening more stores.

At the heart of proposition is the idea that retailers can engage better with their customers if they turn their stores into omnichannel points of service, because in most national retailers, 85% of customers live within 15 minutes of their stores. So, that means they can offer same day home delivery, 30 minute click and collect, and easier points of returns, and of course better services through staff and stores. We also believe that the platform allows them to become marketplaces themselves in the same way that Amazon has done.

So, we are helping them enable this transformation to omnichannel excellence, whilst helping them reduce costs and increasing productivity with a minimum capital outlay.

Q3: Now, during the period, the Group continued to invest significant sums in product development. What does it mean and how would it add to the group?

A3: We look at every aspect of retail processes to see what we can do to either drive more sales or drive more profits for a retailer. Our goal is to sell better business outcomes so for example, the innovations we’re doing are focused on the following teams:

  • Greater personalisation and personal shopping services to existing customers through better CRM and mobile engagement
  • Aligning retailers to sell more to existing customers.
  • Allowing retailers to optimise stock so they can sell more without increasing stock investments
  • Allowing retailers to optimise pricing and promotions so they can maximize cash margin
  • Help retailers become marketplaces through better digital supply integration and that will enable them to increase sales.
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We’ve just released a smart route application, which we believe will reduce the cost of home delivery as they dispatch from stores. We’re also investing in things like self-checkout technologies to improve in store efficiency.

So, those are some of the themes where a lot of our R&D investment in product development is going.

Q4: Now, although the macroeconomic predictions for the next 12 months are largely negative, but the Group’s technology is designed to help retailers weather that storm. What does the company have in place to help its customers during this kind of time?

A4: So, basically, every retailer is now focused on trying to drive more sales because they are all concerned that inflation, cost price increases, energy prices going up, are going to constrain consumer spending. So, what they’re trying to do is drive more sales, and in the short term, that means they need to focus on the needs of their existing customers.

Secondly, every retailer is under cost pressure so they have to decide their price positioning. They have to optimise pricing and decide how much they’re going to try and pass on to their customers and how much they’re not so they can retain sales.

Thirdly, every retailer has cash tied up in stock, so they have to decide how best to drive sales through and how to optimise that stock.

Retailers, in the next 12 months, have to look for quick wins and we have so many elements of our platform that helps retailers do that and so, as I said, our goals are to help retailers drive sales and drive for improvements in EBITDA by improving productivity across everything they do.

We see technology as a means to an end and the end is really clear in terms of what we need to help retailers achieve.

Q5: Just looking forward, what else can we expect to see from itim Group for the rest of the year?

A5: I think, fundamentally, staying true to our mission which means obviously continuing to do what we’ve done well over the last three years, in the way we service in supporter customers. Obviously, we’re focused on sales and trying to achieve about targets.

Ultimately, we are playing a long game and the long game, ultimately for companies like us, is all about product excellence in terms of the outcomes our platforms deliver for retailers. So, in that sense, it’s very much business as usual, we need to continue to stay focused on our principal mission and make sure we deliver to it.

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