In America, 2000 IBDs benefit from the provision of a monthly CD-ROM database from Bikealog which lists 100,000 items from most US suppliers. An IBD with Bikealog always has complete data on products, supply sources and wholesale pricing. The CD contains pretty much every item in the industry, including hard-to-find exotic parts and accessories, plus the latest stuff.
The UK has no such system. But now one is being planned, and may even be in advance of the Bikealog system because Neil Delafield of Mane.com and Simon Watts of Swis.co.uk realise lots of bells and whistles can be added thanks to clever computer coding.
The Mane/SiWIS offering would be internet based.
My basic idea was to try and integrate an EPoS system with an IBDs website, Watts told BikeBiz.
The site would be fully ecommerce enabled, taking its information from an online database which would mirror that of the database on the retailers EPoS system. The EPoS system would then periodically dial up and transfer data between the local and remote databases, the return data being orders. These would then be handled by a small plug-in for the EPoS system which would generate the report of orders placed for the retailer!
Mane Systems is the EPoS partner because it has a Windows-based application whereas other IBD EPoS companies are still working in MS DOS.
The proposed system would be available both seperately and as a bundle.
SiWIS will be able to construct websites which are ecommerce enabled and EPoS-ready. Mane will be able to offer the only EPoS system which can be made web ready.
With a dynamically updated website, customers can log on to an IBDs website and see whether a required item is in stock. Instant availability often beats a keen price and is a traffic generator for the bricks and mortar shop just as much as a sales closing tool for the website.
Existing customers of Mane will be able to bolt on the new system at a later date. Similarly, all SiWIS websites will be upgradable.
The multi-supplier electronic product catalogue similar to the one offered in the US by Bikealog will be an online product database available to SiWIS customers.
Watts: IBDs will be able to log in with their authorised username and password, select their required products from the central SiWIS database, even to the extreme of selecting all products from one supplier with two button clicks, and then finally click update. This will dynamically update their own database from which their own site is driven, adding countless new lines in one easy operation.
The Mane/SiWIS system will be beta tested in September with the full service being available by the end of the year. The initial database update system could be live by the end of October, if enough suppliers provide their product details to Watts. Electronically, of course.