CURTAIN CALL FOR ON-LINE SYSTEM

Sep 23, 2004

A Londonderry curtain manufacturer has had an enthusiastic response to its interactive website from both the public and curtain retailers and as a result is anticipating a growth in sales of its custom-made curtains.



The Invest Northern Ireland backed Home Design Centre spotted a window of opportunity for a web-based curtain design and order system and developed the Curtains-on-Line website (www.curtains-on-line.com).

The site, which has been live for almost a year, uses sophisticated design mapping techniques that allow prospective customers to experiment with virtual fabrics and designs to see how their curtains will look on their windows. The visual interface enables customers to choose the room and window type and size, and then apply combinations of curtain fabrics and styles.

Now several leading stores have expressed an interest in putting a display in-store, based on the website, so that salespeople can use it to help customers choose fabrics and styles and also as a tool to generate accurate price estimates.

The innovative online product was developed with the help of Invest NI’s Compete Programme and software developers at the University of Ulster.

John Gallen Managing Director of Home Design Centre says: “We’ve had a very good response to the website from the public and are confident about selling the idea of in-store displays to several leading stores. The support from Invest NI both in developing the system and in ironing out early teething problems has been tremendous and the local team in the Invest NI North West office have been great at helping us access the range of specialist help available from the agency.”

Des Gartland, Client Executive in Invest NI’s North West Local Office comments: “We’ve been working with the Home Design Centre in a number of ways to ensure that the company is in a position to maximise the potential of its Curtains-on-Line website. As well as supporting the development of the product through our Compete programme we’ve looked at the company’s requirements across the breadth of the business including sales and marketing, personnel, e-business and finance.

“As a result, the company was encouraged to take part in Invest NI’s Marketing Awareness Programme to help it to develop a clear marketing strategy, and has used the E- Business Masterclass programme to achieve maximum usage and security of its ICT systems.

“We believe that building capability and excellence in every area of a company’s activity is key to ensuring its ongoing success. Invest NI is continuing to help the Home Design Centre develop by calling upon our specialist executives in areas such as business improvement and technical support to assist the company with specific issues.”


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