BlackStar Performer

The web proved its appeal on Christmas Day for BlackStar, Northern Ireland’s biggest and most successful Internet company.

While other stores were closed, the online company made £8000 on Christmas Day, and £17000 on New Year’s Eve.

All purchases are made online, and the store offers a range of over 50,000 videos and DVDs.

Operating from an office on the Ravenhill Road in Belfast, it is always open for business, receiving orders from every corner of the globe.

Company director and co-founder, Jeremy Glover said the initial problem for the company was getting the capital for a venture which was virtually unheard of at the time.

The Bangor man said: “We had been watching American on-line companies and we knew the potential business was there.”

So the question was how to market a company on a system packed with thousands of competitors.

He continued: “We decided to market Blackstar off-line – to build the brand name first. There’s so many billions of pages on-line you can get lost among them, so we tried to build a trust factor with the consumer and elevate the brand that way.”

BlackStar offer free postage worldwide and provide a currency conversion for foreign customers.

But their most significant trademark is customer care, for which they have already received several awards.

Jeremy continued: “We’re obsessed about our customers. Without them we may as well pack up and go home. It’s not just about videos for us, it’s about customers. We have a kind of cornershop relationship with them.”

The majority of Northern Ireland consumers, however, are still in the dark about the advantages of shopping online.

One of the greatest fears for potential on-line shoppers is giving their credit card details over the internet, but Jeremy is determined that details are secure.

He claimed it is actually more dangerous giving credit card details over a phone line than sending them through cyberspace.

He said: “People really aren’t as concerned about that as they used to be. On-line credit card details are scrambled and then sit in a seperate server called ‘firewalls’ – it is impossible to access this system from the internet.

“The BlackStar system is the safest you’d get anywhere.”

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