Soaring software sales suggest that merchant confidence is stabilising despite the impact of Covid and the uncertainty of Brexit, says Ten-25 Software Managing Director Ian Oldrey.
Merchant businesses in a range of sectors are investing in digital solutions to prepare them for the challenges ahead. Ten-25 Software, which builds sector-specific, cloud-based ERP systems for merchants, has reported record sales throughout the pandemic as merchants work hard to future-proof their operations and prepare for eCommerce.
“Despite difficult trading conditions we have continued to welcome record numbers of new clients on board,” said Ten-25 MD Ian Oldrey. “It’s clear that merchants are well aware of the challenges the future holds, but it’s great to see confidence growing throughout industries and businesses investing in their futures.”
Traditional service + new technology = diversity and growth
Founded in 1981, Ten-25 has traditionally specialised in supplying ERP systems for timber and builders’ merchants, as well as steel stockholders and plumbing suppliers. But during the pandemic, the versatile browser-based software has attracted attention from some new sectors too.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from sawmills, timber merchants, builders’ merchants and steel stockholders, as we’d expect,” said Oldrey. “But I’m delighted to have sold systems in other sectors too, like plumbing and bathroom supplies, plastics suppliers and an independent slate wholesaler. We’ve had interest from all sorts of importers and stockists, and it’s great to see how the software can be used in so many different ways to suit new customers. Whether it’s timber, tiles or tins of paint, if you stock it, UT400 can help you sell it.”
Responsive, agile software to meet new challenges
Despite the pressure on merchants at the current time, and the uncertainty of the future with Covid, Brexit and climate change, Oldrey is confident that UT400 provides the flexibility and responsiveness that is needed to monitor and react to ever-changing commercial conditions.
“It gives merchants a very simple, yet comprehensive, real-time overview of all the moving parts of the business,” he said. “The customised dashboards help each user to easily keep an eye on everything that’s relevant to them, which really helps to identify issues and opportunities, as well as manage and predict stock levels more effectively.”
UT400 is 100% cloud based, meaning it can be accessed from your smart device, 24/7, without the need for specialist devices or installations.
“It gives a new level of freedom that legacy systems simply couldn’t offer,” said Oldrey. “This system can be used by the whole workforce from the yard to the boardroom, out on the road or from your home office. It’s really helping our customers to be flexible and responsive to their own customers’ needs, and it lays all the foundations for eCommerce, which more and more merchants are adopting.”
Online demo and remote installation
Of course, one of the big challenges of the coronavirus pandemic has been staff and supplier safety.
“We appreciate that our customers need to be safe, and to protect their staff and customers too," said Oldrey. "One of the huge advantages of a true cloud system is that it can be accessed from anywhere. We have even rolled out an online demo system so that merchants can have a play with the system up front, giving them a chance to try before they buy. People are responding really well to it – taking on a new ERP system is a big decision, so this way they get to really get to know the software before making that commitment.”
Not only can merchants trial the software online, all implementation, data migration and training can all be done remotely as well, causing less disruption and keeping all parties completely safe.
Fast and efficient implementation
Without the clunky installation issues of legacy systems and the need for specialist hardware, installation and implementation can be achieved in much tighter time frames than has been traditional for industry-specific ERP systems.
“Traditionally it would take several months from contract to go live,” said Oldrey. “These days, a brand new customer can be up and running in just a few weeks, with far less disruption to the business.”
Easy to use, quick to learn
“One of the most frequent bits of feedback we’ve had is about how easy the system is to use,” said Oldrey. “That was a huge priority for us when we designed it. We even brought in an expert games designer to overhaul the user interface to make it more engaging, target based and simple to use. We are delighted with the feedback we’re getting and can’t wait for more of the market to have a chance to test it out – it’s tremendously exciting.”
The future of merchant business
There’s no doubt that digital is on the rise for merchants, with more and more adding eCommerce or click and collect features, and investing heavily in upgrading websites and digital operations.
“Ecommerce is providing very popular with merchants and customers alike,” said Oldrey. “But it’s important to make sure the back end of the business can keep up. A system like UT400, which can integrate with leading sector-specific eCommerce platforms like eCommonsense, helps pave the way for that digital journey.”
“Even if digital isn’t on the agenda, merchants are still investing in themselves and seeing the huge benefits of a system like UT400. The time savings on admin alone are phenomenal, and it’s really driving new efficiencies for our customers. We’re delighted with the response it’s getting, and we’re continuing to improve it and add new features all the time.”
Merchants can request UT400 login details for the demo system at https://www.ten-25.co.uk/ut400-online-demo