IT products – March 2020

IT products – March 2020

Border Merchant Systems

Wood Lane selects CounterAct

Wood Lane Timber Merchants in the East Midlands has been trading since 2003 and serves a wide range of customers including builders, roofers, shopfitters and landscapers. It also supplies to local authorities and for public sector projects, as well as to the general public.

In September 2018, Wood Lane Timber was forced to look for new software as MD Pat Kelly explains: “We were given a year’s notice that our software supplier would be ceasing to trade. Prior to this, they hadn’t really been updating their system so we already knew it was time for a change.”

Selecting CounterAct from Border, Pat said: “The reason for this choice was the great reputation of CounterAct within the industry, along with the fact that we felt it was nearest fit to the system we had been using previously.

“We were impressed with how quickly Border got to know our business and our objectives; it was even able to help with the finance by spreading the payments over a one-year period. We have been delighted with the service it has given us and are already noticing real changes to our business in terms of speed and efficiency. The fact that the system is constantly updated means we always have the latest technology at our fingertips.”

Since going live in May last year, a further benefit has also been the assistance from Border’s support desk. Pat said: “Their expertise and knowledge has been outstanding, for example helping us ‘make tax digital’. Of course, there will always be some teething troubles with a new installation — for us we had issues with transferring some information, but Border was able to step in immediately and help resolve any queries we had.”


Peak AI

Recent investment by has seen it add cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology into its six digital superstores. The self-described online builders’ merchant has joined forces with Peak to utilise the latest AI technology to provide a ‘hyper-personalised experience’ for customers on the websites.

Peak’s Customer AI solution will provide predictive recommendations by learning from customer interactions; a personalised experience that will help connect customers with the products they are most likely to need.

Ben Hodson, Marketing Director of, said: “We are known as a positive disruptor in what has been a traditional sector, and this latest investment marks our continued commitment to keeping customers at the heart of our business by using exciting new technology to deliver real benefits to them.

“With over 75,000 products across our six superstores, many that are used in conjunction with others in tasks or projects, the introduction of tailored recommendations for all users, based on their usage of the site, will further enhance the customer’s experience on our websites. The developments will enable customers to find exactly what they need more swiftly as well as reminding them of any associated products they may have forgotten.”

CEO Andy Dunkley added: “We are proud to be the only builders’ merchant adopting AI in this way. Partnering with an AI leader like Peak is ground-breaking for the construction materials sector and will deliver clear benefits both to our customers and to our business.”’s Andy Dunkley (left) and Ben Hodson.


Lead generation chatbot

Leadoo has launched its interactive chatbot service in the UK to help customers generate more sales leads from their websites. The Finnish firm argues that whilst most chatbots have up until now focussed on providing customer support, it takes this a step further by using chatbots to ‘take better care of website visitors’ and turning them into leads which can potentially also increase online sales. This, says Leadoo, helps overcome the challenge of average website conversion rates being between just 0 and 1%.

With a particular focus on all aspects of the building sector, Founder and CEO Mikael da Costa explains: “Leadoo brings website content alive. Our chatbots activate passive website visitors, who represent over 90% of all traffic, by providing a two-way conversation between the visitor and the site to convert them into leads. In our experience in other markets in Europe, we find that all aspects of the building trade — including tradespeople, suppliers and merchants — can benefit from our bots.”

Leadoo believes it can help any company in the building sector looking to convert leads, the only requirement being that they already have enough website visitors to make it worthwhile.

Depending on an individual company’s requirements, Leadoo can implement a number of different bots — including ModalBots, VideoBots and InpageBots — and says that it aims to keep its processes and customer service as simple and responsive as possible, including a tiered pricing structure.


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