Disruption is the better, sexier, more efficient and exciting way of doing things that are taken for granted, says Vend chief executive Vaughan Rowsell.

Rowsell said his cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) company was disrupting the traditional cash register, paper and spreadsheet world of retail with its software, but being a disrupter was not always straightforward.

"Disruption is when something that's taken for granted, something slow and painful, or the status quo is changed with something better, sexier, more efficient, more exciting," Rowsell said.

"It isn't something you can just make happen. You have to offer something that is an order of magnitude better than what exists now - getting movement is very hard at the beginning, and then once you reach the right momentum, nothing can stop it."


Vend is one of a number of tech companies shaking up the retail transaction space.

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said disruption was becoming increasingly important in retail for businesses looking to stay relevant and increase foot traffic over online shopping.

"There's more focus on disruption now because retailers are realising how beneficial it can be," Wilkinson said.

"People are getting used to a very seamless experience when they're shopping online and they can also get quite a high customer service experience. So we need to look at what it's going to take for retailers to take that next step - and some of these disruptive technologies can do that."

Since launching in October 2010, Vend has increased its customer base to 15,000 customers in more than 140 countries. Rowsell said there were always risks with being a high-growth company, and "if you're disrupting, you're growing fast".

"You have to stay nimble and switched on to keep up with the pace and you have to work hard to constantly innovate, predict and respond to trends ahead of time, and create a clear strategy and path that will get you to where you want to go," he said.

The retail industry is one which has been continuously disrupted over the past few years with the arrival of online shopping and a variety of new payment methods, including the software-as-a-service model in the technology sector.

According to Rowsell the move to the cloud was one of the biggest changes for business since the coming of the internet - and one of Vend's main success points.


"It's exciting.

"The momentum [being a disrupter] is amazing, and if you are leading the pack then great things happen," Rowsell said.

As long as businesses were focused on solving problems and saving time and money for businesses, they would continue to do well, he said.

"The trend we are seeing is that mobile and the internet mean a great idea can sweep the world so fast, and capture the imagination - there's never been a better time to have good ideas."


•Launched in October 2010.

•Received $25 million from US entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

•Delivers cloud-based point-of-sale software for retailers.

•Integrates with companies such as Xero and Quickbooks to provide an end-to-end service.

What is disruption?

Rapid business change caused by fast technological change or transformation of business models. Cheap access to cloud computing means businesses don't have to invest in infrastructure but typically develop app-based models for customers to access goods and services, mainly through smartphones. This is leading to changes in the patterns of production and consumption.

Tomorrow: The travel industry gets stirred up