IT round up – July/ August 2020

IT round up – July/ August 2020
Accessible digital commerce

A multi-award winning digital commerce team has launched a free, merchant-specific ecommerce platform that works across mobile, desktop and tablet for plumbing and hardware wholesalers looking to grow their business digitally or create new routes to market. is the new freemium offer from RNF, which initially made its name in the food wholesale sector, winning a host of industry awards. The new platform is said to offer merchants a fully-branded online ordering capability within 24 hours of receipt of product files.
Rob Mannion, CEO of RNF/, said: “All a merchant has to do is send a link to their customer for them to start placing orders. It also enables customers to research products and place orders at a time and place to suit them, boosting basket sizes, reducing errors and enabling non-contact payment — a particular benefit in this new Covid-19 world.”
To get online, customers simply need to provide product files in csv format and the app can be live in just 24 hours. Merchants looking for greater functionality will be able to upgrade their plan to include certain premium features, such as barcode scanning, in-app advertising, product placement and a basket builder, which means their own customers can create lists and favourites for quick re-ordering.
For more details, including a demo of the service, go to:


Ten-25 Software
Cloud solution

Ten-25 Software says it is welcoming new customers from a range of sectors thanks to its all-new, 100% cloud-based merchant trading system, UT400. Due to the fully digital nature of UT400, everything from demo to installation can be done remotely, keeping merchant staff safe and their business healthy.
Ian Oldrey, the software company’s MD, said: “It has become increasingly apparent in recent years that merchant businesses need to embrace digital technology to keep up with the pace and demands of modern trading. For some that’s not a big leap, but for others who are still using manual or older legacy systems, it’s a lot to think about. Everything about UT400 from the ground up has been based on making that transition as easy as possible.”
Given the ongoing Covid-19 situation, Ian added: “Thanks to the digital nature of this system, we are finding that it is perfectly feasible to manage the whole process — from initial enquiry to online system demo to installation and onboarding — on a fully remote basis. Obviously we prefer to meet customers in person, but with that being difficult in the current climate, we’re delighted to be able to offer a really workable alternative.”
For more information on UT400 including video demos, click here:


Guild of Architectural Ironmongers
Online courses

Builders’ merchant staff, including customer service and trade counter colleagues affected by the coronavirus crisis and still on furlough, are being encouraged to utilise online training resources to upskill as the industry’s recovery phase continues.
The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers says its online Foundation in Hardware course is an ideal option for many in the sector and is designed for those who are not involved in architectural ironmongery as their day-to-day job, but do need a basic knowledge of door hardware.
Consisting of 12 modules with ‘test yourself’ questions at the end of each section followed by a final exam, the course covers a range of door hardware products including hinges, closing devices, fire and escape doors and also looks at standards and the basics of access control.
Click for a free taster which outlines the style and content of the course.

Kerridge Commercial Systems
K8 Web Trade

Given the impact of the coronavirus, one of the current priorities for Kerridge Commercial Systems has been to bring forward the development of certain products, deployable in days, which can enable merchants with no existing ecommerce capabilities to start competing “very quickly” with those already trading online.

James Mitchell, UK Managing Director at KCS (pictured), said: “The internet has been the go-to place for everyone in this crisis — whether it’s for communicating with family or for doing business. Trade and consumer customers will now expect their local merchant to have web capabilities that match what they’re used to in other areas of their personal and business life. Unfortunately those who have only previously paid lip service to trading online are going to lose out.
“Our response has therefore been to develop several key products enabling the very quick deployment of integrated and non-integrated e-commerce sites — for example, a connector designed to manage transactions from sales platforms such as Amazon more cheaply and easily; and a sales rep portal that will allow sales reps working from home to take orders remotely on our K8 ERP solution.”
K8 WebTrade, for instance, is a Cloud-based integrated website, designed for very quick and easy deployment by merchants already using K8. It gives their trade customers access to an extensive product catalogue and shows personalised pricing and stock availability.
Customers can log on securely and place orders that are immediately imported into K8 ready to be processed. They can also browse their account and, most importantly for the merchant, make payment online.
More information, including a video demonstration, is available via


Border Merchant Systems
e-trading solution

Border Merchant Systems says its CounterAct customers can have a trading website developed in a Magento 2 platform that’s fully integrated with their CounterAct system. Commercial Manager Phil Davies said: “Border is part of the Hermitage Innovation Group (HIG) which has two specialist web development companies in the group — Stratus 21 and WKd. This access to knowledge allows Border to offer a single point of contact for both CounterAct and web projects.”
Owned by Adobe, Magento is one of the world’s leading ecommerce platforms and is used by thousands of companies of all sizes around the world to trade online. Magento is described as “endlessly customisable” so websites can look distinctive and also has a massive range of extensions available through its Marketplace which Border can utilise to keep development costs down.
Border’s Magento web integration caters for cash sales, account sales as well as providing online account management facilities. Information about stock is held in CounterAct in the normal way and additions and changes are automatically synchronised with the website.
Furthermore, CounterAct allows for multiple pricing options allowing separate web pricing to branch pricing, if required.
For more information on CounterAct, click here:

Graham Plumbers’ Merchants
New App

Indicative of the increasing digital journey being undertaken by many merchants, Graham has launched a new App which is designed to provide easy access to its product catalogue. Crucially for the merchant’s customer base of small heating and plumbing businesses, the App also simplifies the digital record keeping of all jobs and invoicing in line with the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative.
Created with tax digitalisation developers Powered Now, the App allows tradespeople to keep all of their documents in one easily accessible place. The App tracks their active customers, jobs and quotes as well as storing all important records from past activity.
In addition, users are also able to easily browse Graham’s product catalogue from which they can add individual items and product details directly to a quote, purchase order or invoice. Furthermore, when purchase orders are created by users, they are sent directly to Graham for processing.
Crucially, the application is available offline to allow users to access their documents even without Internet access.

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